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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in France series at FrenchPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind French holidays and observances. I’m Matt, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 19- Assumption Day. In French, it’s called Assomption.
Assumption is a Catholic holiday and it’s celebrated on August 15. In this lesson, you'll learn about the origins of this holiday and how French people celebrate it these days.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Which first name is celebrated on the day of Assumption?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Assumption celebrates Jesus’s mother Mary, or Marie, and her rise to Heaven. In the sixth century the Byzantine emperor Maurice established the Feast Day of the Virgin Mary on August 15. The holiday was introduced to the West by Pope Theodore in the seventh century. It took the name of “Assumption” starting the following century. In 1637, King Louis XIII wanted an heir. He asked his subjects to make a procession in every parish on August 15 so that his prayer would be granted.
Because King Louis XIII’s wish was granted the following year, the holiday took on special importance. Since then, every year, religious processions have taken place in certain cities in France. For example, after mass, pilgrims carry a statue of the Virgin Mary, or Vierge Marie, in the streets around the neighborhood. The procession in Paris has taken place for a few years on a boat on the Seine.
French people who are not Catholic still celebrate August 15. Fireworks are set off in many cities in France, and you can easily find dance shows, or spectacles de danse, too. You can enjoy most of them for free. The tradition has remained strong in very Catholic cities such as Lourdes and Puy-en-Velay.
Assumption Day features in many sayings such as À la mi-août, adieu les beaux jours meaning “In mid-August, say goodbye to good weather” and à la mi-août, l'hiver est en route meaning “In mid-August, winter is on the way.” Moreover, August 15 also symbolizes a summer well spent, and the approaching autumn.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
Do you know which first name is celebrated on the day of Assumption?
August 15 is the day to honor all women named Mary. In France, this is the most common name of the twentieth century. Since 1946, more than two million little French girls have been given this name!
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you also celebrate Assumption in your country?
Please leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!

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Do you also celebrate Assumption in your country?