Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary: when do we celebrate it?

The Feast of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Mary has been celebrated every year on 8 September, since, at least, the sixth century. Since we do not have any official source or scripture that determines the exact date of Mary’s birth, the Church established the month of September. This is because the Eastern Church begins its Church year with this month, like it was the “Monday of the year”.
Furthermore, the 8th day was chosen because it recalls the feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated everywhere on 8 December.
The most important events linked to the Life of Mary are, of course, the Nativity, the Immaculate Conception, the Annunciation and the Assumption.
Discover more about the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by reading the following paragraphs.

Nativity according to the Protoevangelium of St. James

According to the Protoevangelium of James, which has no historical value, St. Anne and St. Joachim, the parents of Mary, were infertile, but thanks to their prayers, Anne finally got pregnant with her first baby: the Virgin Mary. They received the promise of a child who would have advanced God’s plan of salvation for the world and humanity. This promise stressed the constant presence of God in Mary’s life, from the beginning, even before she was born.

The dispute of Medjugorje

Do you remember the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje?
Due to the Virgin’s apparitions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, today many Christians are devoted to Our Lady of Medjugorje.
According to the people who saw the Virgin, in 1984, Mary declared that she was born on 5 August. This is because she appeared on that day and said that it was her two thousandth anniversary from her birth. However, since the Catholic Church still has not officialized the apparitions of Medjugorje, this date can’t be totally taken for granted. For this reason, the date of 8 September is considered nowadays the official birth day during which Christians celebrate the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.
Are you devoted to Our Lady of Medjugorje?
Here is a beautiful hand-painted statue, depicting the Holy Virgin who appeared in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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Our Lady of Medjugorje resin statue
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Mary’s life: an example of virtue

The primary important event in Mary’s life, according to the Bible, is the Annunciation of Gabriel the Archangel. The Catholic Church looks on her as the Mother of God, the woman who gave birth to the Son of God, our Savior. Due to her obedience to her Son and her love for her neighbors, she can be considered the woman to imitate, especially in the trust shown during the saddest moments in Jesus’ life, as His crucifixion and death. In many moments like this, the Virgin explains why the people of God know that they can find their refuge and comfort in faith and absolute trust in God’s will.
So, no matter the real date of her birth: the most important thing for Christians is to always remember that She was the highest example of Christian love, virtue, devotion and absolute trust in God’s will, despite He planned to sacrifice His only son for our salvation.

La Pietà by Michelangelo statue

Reproduction of the famous La Pietà” by Michelangelo.

Celebrations and customs linked to the Nativity of Mary in Italy

The liturgical feast is accompanied by an ancient popular devotion to Mary Child, widespread especially in the northern area of Italy, called Lombardy. For this reason, many parents during the sixties imposed the singular name of Bambina (feminine for “child”) on their daughters. 

  • In Liguria (northern Italy), the city of Masone celebrates the Nativity of Mary on the first Saturday of September and the Sunday following it. The most important moments are the solemn procession in which the brothers carry the heavy Ligurian Christ adorned with silver flowers, followed by the simulacrum, the holy mass and the ancient cattle fair.
  • In Sicily (southern Italy) the Feast of Mary Child is a very important religious moment, especially in the small village named Petralia Sottana. This feast culminates with the procession of the simulacrum in the afternoon of 8 September and the torchlight procession at night on the day before, accompanied by the centuries-old cattle fair.
  • In Apulia (southern Italy), the village of Cisternino celebrates the feast of the “Bomminella”, where one of the oldest fairs in the south takes place.

Are you devoted to the Holy Virgin Mary?
Here is a religious statue which depicts the Blessed Mother in all her beauty and grace.
This statue, in particular, is a representation of Our Lady of Protection. The Holy Virgin is here depicted while protecting six children with her mantle, and it is deeply linked to the themes of birth and childhood.
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Our Lady of Protection statue

 

 

Related articles:
5 most famous Virgins and Marian shrines→
Immaculate Conception: meaning and origins of the solemnity→
Why is May the month of Mary?→
La Pietà by Michelangelo: a teaching of compassion and devotion→