Catholics in Germany and all over the world celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on Monday.

The festival is not a movable holiday, so it takes place every year on August 15th.

What is celebrated on Assumption Day?

On this holiday, Catholics commemorate the "Assumption of Mary into heaven".

Although this is not described in the Bible, it was published in 1950 by Pope Pius XII as the last Catholic dogma to date.


A dogma in the Catholic Church is an "infallible doctrine and belief written with the highest authority".

It states, among other things, that “after the end of her earthly life, the immaculate, ever-virgin Mary, Mother of God, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

According to Catholic teaching, the soul lives on after death, while the body is only resurrected on the day of judgment.

The immediate bodily acceptance of Mary is therefore a special privilege that emphasizes the prominent role of the Mother of God.

Pope Benedict XVI

once put it this way: “We believe that Mary, like Christ her Son, has already conquered death.”

Where is Assumption Day public holiday?

In Germany, only in Saarland and in large parts of Bavaria (except in large parts of Upper and Middle Franconia) does one not have to work on Assumption Day, in exactly 1704 of 2056 municipalities with a predominantly Catholic population.

The number of Catholic parishioners must therefore exceed that of Protestants.

This was re-established following the results of the 2011 census.

The main residence applies.

In five of the eight major Bavarian cities, the day is also a Catholic holiday.

This applies to Munich, Augsburg, Würzburg, Regensburg and Ingolstadt.

In Nuremberg, Fürth and Erlangen, on the other hand, people work on Mondays.

According to Article 1 Paragraph 1 Number 2 of the law on the protection of Sundays and public holidays, August 15 is a public holiday in Bavaria in a municipality if more Catholic than Protestant residents have their main residence there.

In the Protestant Church, the Assumption of Mary is not a special holiday.

What is the most important difference to Ascension Day?

Catholic teaching says: Christ ascends to God by his own strength, while Mary is assumed into heaven.

In German, both are called ascension, but in Latin the difference becomes clear: Mariä Himmelfahrt means "Assumptio Mariae", i.e. "acceptance, reception of Mary", Christ's Ascension Day, on the other hand, means "Ascensio Christi", i.e. "ascent of Christ".

Since when is the Assumption of Mary celebrated?

The festival has its origins in the Eastern Church (in patriarchs such as Constantinople and Jerusalem), where it was introduced in 431.

The first legendary depictions follow in the 6th century.

The Assumption of Mary has been celebrated in the Roman Church since the 7th century, in Germany since the 9th century.

Since the time of the Catholic reform after the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which exempted Mary from original sin, the doctrine of Mary's assumption into heaven became more conscious before it was then 1950 by Pius XII.

was elevated to dogma.

These countries around the world celebrate the Assumption of Mary

August 15 is a national public holiday in Austria and Liechtenstein, as well as in eight Swiss cantons.

In a further seven cantons, there are a number of communes that are free of work.

In addition, the Assumption of Mary is a public holiday in a number of other Catholic countries around the world - in Europe, for example, in Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

Italy also dedicates the Feast of the Assumption to art and culture.

A large number of museums, monuments and castles, parks and gardens as well as archaeological sites across the country open their doors to visitors on Monday, as the Italian Ministry of Culture announced on Twitter over the weekend.

Ferragosto, as the Assumption Day is called in Italy, is the main holiday season for Italians.

Many shops, establishments and restaurants close for the rest of the month.

And what does the term “dormition” mean in this context?

In the Eastern Church, the festival is still referred to as the "Day of Dormition" and Mary as "Panagia", the "Most Holy", who was the first person to experience deification because Christ immediately took her soul to paradise.

Even if the liturgical texts of the feast profess the integrity of her body in death, orthodox theology remains reluctant to assume a bodily assumption into heaven.

Likewise, orthodox theology avoids the concepts of the “Assumption” and the “Assumption” of the Blessed Mother.

However, the importance of the festival in the spiritual life of the Eastern Churches is underscored by a 14-day fasting period ("Mary's Lent") that prepares for the festival.

This is how the Pope celebrates in Rome

August 15 is not only the Assumption of Mary in Italy, but also “Ferragosto”, a holiday when almost everything in Rome comes to a standstill.

The term goes back to the pagan "Feriae Augusti" (holidays of Augustus) from the first century AD.

The Roman Emperor Augustus (63 BC-14 AD) had granted his subjects the privilege of a day off on this date.

What customs are associated with the festival?

In Catholic regions of Germany and beyond, candle processions and herb consecrations are particularly popular on the festival, also known as the "big women's day".

Up to 77 different herbs and plants are collected, tied together to form so-called bushes and blessed.

After that, they are often hung up in the house, where they are supposed to help against diseases, thunderstorms and lightning, or they are mixed with the feed of sick animals.

According to legend, the disciples opened Mary's tomb and found not her body, but blooming flowers and herbs.

From this, the tradition of blessing herbs has developed.

Today, the appeal is often derived from this to pay more attention to nature, together with its beauty and healing powers.