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A spiritual celebration

The Dormition (or the Assumption) of the Virgin Mary (in Greek: Koimisis tis Theotokou) is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of the Theotokos (Mary, the mother of Jesus; literally translated as “God-bearer”). In Greece, it is celebrated on August 15 as the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Every place of Greece has a story of the Virgin Mary (in Greek: Panayia), and every part of the country also holds a festival every August on the 15th to celebrate Her. Panayia Evangelistria in Tinos, Panayia Ekatontaliliani in Paros, and the Monastery of Panayia Soumela on Mt. Vermio are the most known sacred places of religious pilgrimage.

The essence of the celebration is that everyone is welcome and treated like family, participating body and soul in the commemoration. Churches throughout the country celebrate the feast with traditions which vary from place to place. The formal religious ceremony is held during the day, with mass and prayers in the morning and in the evening. Each town’s icon of the Virgin is adorned with flowers and ribbons and carried around the streets, so that everyone can touch it. In the larger churches, such as those in Tinos and Paros, the ceremony is also attended by members of the political leadership. Greeks of the Orthodox faith prepare themselves by fourteen days of fasting, from August 1st to the 14th, which is joyfully broken on the 15th.

Travellers from all over the world choose this time of year to visit Greece in order to become part of the spiritual atmosphere created by the celebrations dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.

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