15 Aug, 2023 @ 10:30
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Why does Spain have a national bank holiday on August 15?

EXPLAINER: Why does Spain have a national bank holiday on August 15?
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THE ASSUMPTION of the Virgin Mary is a public holiday in Spain celebrated every August 15 alongside other the world’s other major Catholic countries.

It is one of eight national bank holidays and is a major religious celebration commemorating God raising the body of the Virgin Mary after her death to heaven and she is reunited with her soul.

Some believe Mary ‘ascended” into heaven, which is incorrect according to the Bible.

It was Jesus Christ who ascended into heaven by his own power but Mary was ‘assumed’ or taken up into heaven by God.

At first, the August 15 holiday was supposed to replace the previous pagan harvest festival but since the 18th century the feast of the Assumption has been celebrated.

Though public offices and banks, along with some retailers like the Mercadona supermarket chain are closed on August 15, many shops in large designated tourist areas of Spain will be open.

Special masses are held and processions are staged involving large statues of the Virgin Mary along with all types of cultural events and celebrations.

The Assumption of Mary celebrations began on August 11 and culminate today(Tuesday) with one of the highlights being a large street party in Madrid.

The day is commemorated at the capital’s Virgen de la Paloma with a street festival and music events on stages in the La Latina district with partying continuing until dawn.

Popular food served on the day include a Roscon de la Virgen which are doughnut-shaped sweets pastries glazed by sugar.

Spain’s next public holiday will be National Day on October 12.

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