Today is Assumption Day, the most important Marian feast day on the calendar.

Public holidays celebrated in Spain include a mix of religious (Roman Catholic), national and regional observances. Each municipality is allowed to have a maximum of 14 public holidays per year; a maximum of nine of these are chosen by the national government and at least two are chosen locally.
Assumption of Mary, or simply “Assumption Day,” is a public holiday in Spain and a major religious festival across the country.
The holiday is based on the belief that the body of Mary, the mother of Jesus, did not undergo decay but was immediately transported to Heaven and reunited there with her soul. The holiday has been kept since the 4th Century A.D., as an attempt to replace an earlier pagan harvest festival. This is why it is still called the “Feast of Our Lady of the Harvest” in certain regions of Europe.
However, it was not until 1950 that the doctrine of the assumption of Mary was declared Catholic dogma by Pope Pious XII, and the Assumption Day has only been widely celebrated in Spain since the 1700’s.
The Assumption of Mary celebrations begin in Spain on 11 August and culminate on 15 August. Throughout Spain, you will find fairs, parades with marching bands, kids’ games, road races through the public streets, dancing, costume contests, and general fun family events.
Important: Banks and most establishments will be closed today (Thursday). Some private corporations may also decide to close tomorrow (Friday) to make the most of this holiday “puente”. Take note of an increased influx of traffic during this period also.

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Written by

Cristina Hodgson

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