Dormition of the Mother of God: Main traditions

Author : News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

The name of the holiday reflects the Christian attitude towards death 
08:00, 28 August 2020

Dormition of the Mother of God
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On August 28, Orthodox Christians are celebrating the Dormition of the Mother of God. This day is believed to be the end of the earthly life of the Virgin Mary. People are due /supposed to prepare for this holiday with a two-week fast. The Dormition Fast is as strict as Great Lent.

History and meaning of the holiday

Dormition of the Mother of God
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The holiday is called the Dormition ("falling asleep"), because the Mother of God died quietly without suffering, in a state of spiritual peace, and three days later she was resurrected by the Lord and ascended to heaven.

The name of the holiday reflects the Christian attitude towards death. Death is not the end of existence, but a dream: the deceased leaves the world for a while in order to return to life after the general resurrection.

Once, during a prayer to the Mother of God, the Archangel Gabriel appeared and said that in three days She would go to the Lord. The Blessed Virgin was waiting for this news and used the allotted three days to pray and say goodbye to everyone. The apostles witnessed the blessed end of the Holy Virgin. Christ, surrounded by many angels, appeared to receive the soul of His Mother and lead Her to paradise.

The Mother of God was buried in the tomb, where Her parents Joachim and Anne and husband Joseph had been buried before. The body of the Virgin Mary was carried in a solemn procession through Jerusalem. Saint Thomas the Apostle did not participate in the procession - the Lord did not allow him to come on time. He arrived in Jerusalem on the third day after the funeral. Saddened that he would never see the Virgin Mary again, he began to ask the apostles to give him the opportunity to say goodbye to the body. They agreed, but when the coffin was opened, there was nobody in the cave. On the same day in the evening, the Mother of God, surrounded by angels, appeared at a meal to the apostles and greeted them with the words: "Rejoice! I am with you all days."

What should not be done on the Dormition?

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If this day falls on Wednesday or Friday, you can eat fish. In this case, breaking the fast is postponed to the next day. But if the Dormition falls on other days of the week, then there is no fast.

The people believe that one must not go barefoot on this day. Dew symbolizes Mary's tears, so getting your feet wet is a sign of trouble and misfortune.

It is undesirable to cook on the feast - this must be done in advance. On this day, you should not pick up piercing and cutting objects. Believers try to break even the bread, instead of cutting it.

One should not work on the day of the feast. The only exception is that work that cannot be postponed, as well as help for others. But if the work started in advance is completed precisely on the Dormition, this is a very good sign that promises good luck.

One should not wear bad shoes - old and uncomfortable. If you neglect this sign, further life will be overshadowed by various difficulties and problems.

An unmarried girl who dreams of finding her betrothed as soon as possible cannot talk to anyone on the morning of the Dormition.

On this day, one should not use foul language, conflict, and quarrel, and also think about bad things.

People do not make a fire in the house so as not to bring trouble to themselves.

What one should do on this day?

From the feast of the Dormition, girls' parents welcomed matchmakers and planned a wedding, which was usually celebrated on October, 14. According to legends, if the parents agree on a wedding, then the young people will live a long life in peace and harmony.

Also, the Orthodox holiday coincided in time with the harvest. At this time of the year, the peasants were busy harvesting. That is why, in the popular consciousness, agricultural customs were superimposed on the Church traditions of the Dormition.

On this holiday, you can salt cabbage and cucumbers.

Folk sayings of the holiday

The Dormition is the end of summer and the division of the seasons; it is popularly believed that autumn begins from that day. Two weeks after the Dormition in the old days was called the Indian summer - it lasted until September11.


  • A thunderstorm on the Dormition means autumn will be early and rainy.
  • On the Dormition of the Virgin, frogs stop croaking.
  • If a rainbow appears, the autumn will be warm and long.
  • If wildflowers' scent is stronger than usual the weather will be bad.
  • Good weather on the Dormition day means Indian summer will be cool.
  • If there is a fog, prepare a large basket - there will be a lot of mushrooms.
  • Frost means there will be short autumn and long frosty winter.
  • If you did not find betrothed at the Dormition day, then you will not get married for a year.
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