National Assumption Day

Thursday 15th August has been gazetted and declared a Public Holiday in Vanuatu to commemorate National Assumption Day.

Most businesses will be closed on this day.

Assumption Day, or Assomption in France, is the day in Roman Catholic tradition when Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, was taken bodily up into heaven.

It is celebrated on 15 August each year and is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics in France.

In the 19th century, missionaries, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, arrived on the islands.

Settlers also came, looking for land on which to establish cotton plantations and when international cotton prices collapsed, they switched to coffee, cocoa, bananas, and, most successfully, coconuts.

Initially, British subjects from Australia made up the majority, but the establishment of the Caledonian Company of the New Hebrides in 1882 soon tipped the balance in favour of French subjects.

By around the start of the 20th century, the French outnumbered the British by two to one.

The Christian feast day of the Assumption of Mary celebrates the belief that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven following her death

The independent Republic of Vanuatu was established in 1980 out of British and French colonialism and we assume this is why Vanuatu is commemorating Assumption day.