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Assumption of Mary / Ferragosto in Italy

Every year many Italians observe Assumption Day, also known as Ferragosto, 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 / Ferragosto a Public Holiday?

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

Colorful wooden statue of Mary.
A statue of Jesus' mother Mary, who is honored in Italy on Assumption Day.
A statue of Jesus' mother Mary, who is honored in Italy on Assumption Day.
©iStockphoto.com/Gijs van Ouwerkerk

What Do People Do?

Ferragosto 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 days of the Palio di Siena, or Il Palio in the city of Siena in Tuscany is held on August 16, coinciding with Assumption Day. This event involves a horse race around the Piazza in the city. Firework celebrations also take place on 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 Ferragosto, or the feast day of the Assumption of Mary. Many churches in Italy believe that 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.

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 / Ferragosto in other countries

Read more about Assumption of Mary / Ferragosto.

Assumption of Mary / Ferragosto Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010SunAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday
2011MonAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday
2012WedAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday
2013ThuAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday
2014FriAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday
2015SatAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday
2016MonAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday
2017TueAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday
2018WedAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday
2019ThuAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday
2020SatAug 15Assumption of Mary / FerragostoNational holiday

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