The Feast of the Assumption of Mary is one of the most important Feast Days in Christian tradition, and one of the few that are obligatory. It celebrates the heavenly birthday of Mary, mother of Jesus – the day she was “assumed” into heaven by her son.
The festival was celebrated as early as 5th century AD, and became established in the East in 600AD by Emperor Maurice. However it wasn’t considered Christian dogma until 1950 when Pope Pius XII decreed it so. The day is celebrated in many countries around the world, especially those with a predominantly Catholic or Orthodox faith, although in some Eastern Orthodox churches it is celebrated on the 28th August.
As you may deduce from the name, The Feast of the Assumption is traditionally celebrate with feasting – and food is what we know best. There are also commonly parades and festivals, and practicing Christians are obligated to attend church. However, we do have some recipes for you…
The Feast of the Assumption doubles as a harvest festival, and coincides with the time of year that fruiting vegetables can be brought in. For this reason, a salad filled with fresh herbs, tomatoes and other fruit is perfect.
Substitute any ingredients you don’t have – especially if you can get them from the garden, and even better if it’s a Mary Garden.
You will need:
- 8 medium ripe tomatoes, sliced
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 180g black olives, pitted and drained
- Chopped fresh basil
- Chopped fresh oregano
- Chopped fresh parsley
- 110g feta cheese
- 200ml olive oil
- 5 tbsps red wine vinegar
- Clove of garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper
Start by whisking the olive oil, wine vinegar and seasonings together until they go thick, and then leave with the garlic in for around an hour.
Distribute the herbs evenly over the salads, then put a bunch of feta cubes into the middle.
Whisk the vinaigrette again and drizzle over the salad.
Many cultures celebrate the Feast in different ways, although an emphasis on herbs and flowers is most common. In Armenian traditions, grapes are blessed, while in Germanic countries it is herbs which are blessed. Combine the two with this lavender-infused lemonade – perfect for a hot day.
Mary was supposedly very fond of lavender, and it’s said that it received its scent when Mary used a lavender bush to dry Jesus’ clothes. It is now known as Mary’s Drying Plant, although she also claimed that it protected virtue.
- 600g granulated sugar
- 700ml water
- 950ml fresh lemon juice
- 14g of dried lavender (food safe)
- Lemons and fresh lavender
Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Stir in the dried lavender, remove from the heat and leave it to stand for ten minutes.
Strain, getting rid of the lavender, and allow to cool.
Stir in lemon juice.
Serve over ice, with lemon slices and fresh lavender.
This lemonade can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, and is best enjoyed sat somewhere natural and light.