Assumption Day is also known as the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and is observed every 15 August in Guinea. Assumption Day celebrates the day when, according to Catholic tradition and doctrine, the Virgin Mary was assumed bodily into Heaven.
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The Assumption of Mary has been a church tradition since at least the 4th Century A.D., but it was not an officially recognised Catholic dogma until the 1950 declaration of Pope Pious XII.
Even though 85 percent of Guinea’s population follows Islam, the 8 percent or so who are Christian enjoy Christian holidays on the public calendar. This includes Roman Catholics who have Assumption Day on the holidays’ calendar for their sake.
Catholic churches hold special masses to honour Mary on Assumption Day. The sermon and singing will be “all about Mary” and her importance to their faith and traditions. Acts of devotion to Mary abound on this day among Catholics.
The background of Assumption Day is long and complicated. Traditions developed over many centuries and were made official dogma only in 1950. It is said that Mary died before the Apostles and was put in a tomb. The tomb was later opened and found empty, however, since Mary’s body had been taken up to heaven to be glorified. Some say she died in Jerusalem and some say in Ephesus, and there are also versions of the story that have “doubting Thomas” not believing until Mary drops her girdle down to him as proof.
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