In Germany, Assumption Day is a public holiday in the provinces of Saarland and Bavaria, which have a higher concentration of catholics. In 2018, Assumption Day falls on Wednesday 15 August.
|2018||15 Aug||Wed||Assumption Day||BY & SL|
|2019||15 Aug||Thu||Assumption Day||BY & SL|
According to Roman Catholic tradition, Assumption Day is the most important feast to “the Blessed Virgin,” who gave birth to Jesus Christ. It is not exactly the belief that Mary “ascended” to Heaven, but it is believed that her body and soul were “assumed,” meaning taken by God into Heaven, on this day.
Not until the fifth century A.D. does belief in the Assumption first appear in the historical record, and it was not established officially as a Catholic feast day until 451 A.D. at the Council of Chalcedon. The date of 15 August however, was not fixed until about 700 A.D.
Mary is thought to have lived with the Apostle John, into whose care Jesus entrusted her as he died on the cross, and to have travelled with him to reside in Ephesus when John became pastor of the church there. Both Ephesus and Jerusalem lay claim to the death-place of Mary. Her grave has been identified by some in Jerusalem, but Catholic tradition continues to maintain her tomb is, like Christ’s, an empty one.
In Bavaria and Saarland, there are many special masses, ringing church bells, and religious pilgrimages on Assumption Day. When two churches are close to one another, they often ring their bells in unison. In some areas, there are processions and summer festivals on 15 August as well.