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Assumption of Mary in Italy

Every year, many Italians observe Assumption Day on August 15. This national holiday celebrates the Catholic belief that God took the body of Jesus’ mother Mary into heaven at her death.

Is Assumption of Mary a Public Holiday?

Assumption of Mary is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

In 2020, it falls on a Saturday, and some businesses may choose to follow Saturday opening hours.

A statue of Jesus' mother Mary, who is honored in Italy on Assumption Day.

©iStockphoto.com/Gijs van Ouwerkerk

What Do People Do?

Assumption Day is a widely celebrated national holiday in Italy during the summer. It involves processions of people carrying the statue of Jesus’ mother Mary in many towns and cities. One of the two days of the Palio di Siena, or Il Palio, in the city of Siena in Tuscany is held on August 16, and it is associated with Assumption Day. This event involves a horse race around the Piazza in the city. Firework celebrations also take place on the evening of Assumption Day.

Public Life

Assumption Day is a nationwide public holiday in Italy. Organizations and businesses that are closed include:

  • Government offices.
  • Post offices.
  • Banks.
  • Schools and other educational institutions.

Transport options, such as taxis, rail services between major cities and major long-route bus lines, are available but travelers are advised to check first with the local transport authorities.

Background

For many years, many Catholic churches in Italy celebrate the feast day of the Assumption of Mary. According to Christian belief, August 15 is the day that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life.

However, its origins date further back to pre-Christian times when August 15 was a Pagan holiday. The Catholic church later adopted this date to commemorate the belief of Mary’s assumption into heaven.

The ancient Roman observance of Ferragosto coincides with Assumption Day.

Symbols

Statues and icons of the Virgin Mary are brought out for display and carried out in street processions on Assumption Day in Italy.

About Assumption of Mary in other countries

Read more about Assumption of Mary.

Assumption of Mary Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SatAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday
2016MonAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday
2017TueAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday
2018WedAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday
2019ThuAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday
2020SatAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday
2021SunAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday
2022MonAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday
2023TueAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday
2024ThuAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday
2025FriAug 15Assumption of MaryNational holiday

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