August 15 in Greece: Dormition of the Virgin

Nicholas C. Rossis

Virgin Mary's Death | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksNot many people may realize this, but today’s celebration of the Dormition of the Virgin is the third greatest celebration in Greece (and the Greek Orthodox tradition), after Easter and Christmas. Although nominally a religious holiday, it is celebrated in the same manner as Easter, with family gatherings, public festivals, and loads of lamb eating. Many go to the beach for a quick swim first, as August is usually the hottest month. Since no one works, it’s perfect for relaxing, and most people will be on vacation this week.

It seems unlikely that people will celebrate so much the death of one of Christianity’s most revered figures. According to Eastern Orthodox and Catholic tradition, however, even though the Virgin Mary died a natural death (called the Dormition of the Theotokos, the falling asleep), like any human being, her soul was received by Christ upon death and her body was resurrected…

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