Assumption Day is also known as the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and is observed every 15 August in Costa Rica. Assumption Day celebrates the day when, according to Catholic tradition and doctrine, the Virgin Mary was assumed bodily into Heaven.
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The Assumption of Mary has been a church tradition since at least the 4th Century A.D., but it was not an officially recognised Catholic dogma until the 1950 declaration of Pope Pious XII.
Costa Rica is unique in that it blends Assumption Day with Mother’s Day. That is, 15 August is the date of both holidays in Costa Rica. Most Costa Ricans are Catholic, and combining the two holidays makes sense to them. Mary is considered “The Mother of Us All” in Roman Catholicism and the perfect example for all other mothers. She is also called the Mother of God because she gave birth to Jesus Christ.
On 15 August, government offices shut down in Cost Rica, and schools and businesses will normally close down too. Almost everyone is off. And if you have to work on this holiday, by government mandate, you must be paid double-time. Commercialisation has set in, to an extent, but most in Costa Rica lament this. They view Assumption Day and Mother’s Day as a family day and a deeply religious holiday.
After attending church, where sermons revolve around Mary and motherhood, people head home for a family dinner. Gifts are given to Mom, with love, especially flowers and candies. People also tend to go to the beach and on family outings this time of year.
For a few years, the government moved the date of Mother’s Day in Costa Rica to the Monday after Assumption Day, but then everyone just treated it like two Mothers Days. So the date was moved back again and hasn’t been touched since!
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