While the Assumption of Mary day was not officially proclaimed till 1950, it is found in several narratives as old as the fifth century. Though the Bible itself does not mention Mary’s assumption to heaven, early Christian texts by Saint Gregory of Tours and Ps.-Modestus of Jerusalem make mention of Mary’s ascent to heaven. As the traditions claim, Mary died in the presence of the apostles. However, when her tomb was opened, some time after her burial, it was found empty. Hence the belief in her assumption.
Today, the Assumption of Mary day is one of the most popular religious festivals in countries inhabited by a Catholic majority. It is a time of artistic exuberance as the Blessed Virgin Mary is portrayed in art at the heights of heavenly entities like the sun, moon, and stars. For Catholic Christians, the Assumption of Mary day signifies great hope: that they too will join Mary in heaven someday. By avowing to follow in the footsteps of God’s mother, they look forward to receiving Divine grace and ascend to eternal peace, like Virgin Mary, after the end of their days on earth.
Traditionally, Catholic Christians lovingly teach their children about the Assumption of Mary and its significance to their lives on the occasion of the Assumption of Mary feast. A day before the feast, i.e. on August 14, people show their reverence to Virgin Mary by decorating a picture or statue of her with flowers. Better liked for making decorative bouquets are flowers of rose, violet, marigold, lilies, iris, and baby breath. The flowers are taken along to the mass and after the mass are laid at the picture or statue of Mary. Children are usually fond of offering flowers to the representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Also central to the day’s beauty are candles and prayers. Devoted Christians encourage each child in the family to light a candle, kneel by Mary’s representation, and say a prayer. Ideally, the child’s mother lights the candle for him/her. But older children can light their own candles. After the feast is over, the mother or guardian takes time to teach their kids about the Assumption of Mary day and its meaning in life.
After the dinner, it is customary for many Christian families to pray Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. People in travel usually listen to the prayer on tape. In a number of coastal areas of America and Europe, people practice the special custom of blessing the water. A bishop or priest throws a wreath of flowers and a ring into seawater to symbolically unite the land (where people live) and water (which might invade the land). Before putting them to bed, Christian mothers would tell their children about Mary and her life.