Assumption Day is also known as the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and is observed every 15 August in Réunion. 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.
Though Réunion is a bit of a melting pot of Eastern, African, and Christian beliefs, it is also predominantly Roman Catholic. As such, Assumption Day is a public holiday here. Plus, Réunion follows the same holidays’ schedule as France of which it is technically a far-flung part.
Mary is very central to the faith of many Roman Catholics in Réunion, France, and all around the world. And Assumption Day is the holiest of all Marian holidays according to those who venerate “The Holy Virgin”. Thus, there are often special masses for Mary, small church parades, pilgrimages to Marian shrines, and other acts of devotion to Mary that go on during this day.
Many from France and other countries also travel to Réunion for vacation around the time of Assumption Day. It is a busy day at the beaches, to say the least!
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