August 15 celebrations in Romania: Assumption of Mary and Day of the Navy
The Assumption of Mary, marked on August 15, is one of the most important local religious celebrations. Besides its religious significance, the celebration comes with a series of popular customs and superstitions, varying from one part of the country to the other. The Day of the Navy is also marked on August 15, as St. Mary is considered a protector of seamen.
The Assumption of Mary
The Assumption celebrates the ascension of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. It is a day when people go to church to pray for health, the household or for plentiful crops.
In Transylvania, married women take fruits and honey to church, early in the morning, to have them blessed and then offer them to other believers. Unmarried girls pick up flowers which then they take to church and place them next to the icons, to have their families protected from illnesses and troubles. It is also customary on the morning of August 15 to have graves incensed, to remember those who passed away.
The same day marks the opening of the weddings season, which is open until the Nativity Fast beings. At the same time, the period between August 15 and September 8 (the Nativity of Mary – the celebration marking the birth of St. Mary) is considered auspicious for the fall sowing.
The Assumption day is also when men switched from wearing hats to wearing a fur cap. Many fall fairs and markets were held on the same day.
In some parts of Moldavia, the celebration is also considered one of “the dead” and those who passed away and had names deriving from St. Mary are mentioned. Meanwhile, in the region of Maramureş August 15 remains an important celebration and religious processions taking believers to monasteries and churches in the area are organized.
The August 15 celebration also comes with some superstitions. In some villages, fire is not made two days prior to the celebration, otherwise it is said that people could get sick or their goods might catch fire. On this day, girls are forbidden from cutting their hair and throwing it away, and swimming in flowing waters is also forbidden.
The Day of the Navy
The celebration that separates summer from fall is also when the Day of the Navy is marked. Every year, the Romanian Navy organizes around this time a series of events designed to commemorate seamen heroes and celebrate the naval forces.
On August 14, ceremonies dedicated to seamen heroes are scheduled to take place in Constanța, Mangalia and Tulcea.
On August 15, the public present on the waterfront of Constanța can watch the largest naval exercise organized yearly in the country. The event starts at 09:55, at the waterfront facing the Fleet Command HQ. It involves a variety of ships, of various sizes and purposes, engaged in an exercise simulating an attack on the shore, to which combat divers will respond.
The artillery systems on-board of several ships will take center stage in another demonstration, simulating the rejection of an attack from enemy aviation, which will be represented by MIG-21 Lancer, F-16 and Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.
Between 13:00 and 15:00, the Port of Tomis, in Constanța, will host the traditional Navy Games, and later, beginning with 20:00, the Military Orchestra of the Romanian Navy will perform on the Constanța seafront.
The same day, Bucharest’s Regele Mihai I (Herăstrău) Park will host a military and religious ceremony marking the Day of the Navy. It takes place starting 08:45 in the area of the wharf.