The Feast of the Assumption

A city celebrates its 118th annual celebration in honor of Mary in Little Italy...

This article, written by Laura DeMarco of The Plain Dealer, appears on

118th Feast of the Assumption carries on Italian traditions in Little Italy

Girls in lacy white Communion dresses proudly accompanied the Virgin Mary down the street. Old women in black followed them, rosaries in hand, their heads covered. The priests stopped every so often to bless the crowds and pray as the procession wound down Mayfield Road in Little Italy. Men and women in brightly colored peasant costumes bowed their heads.

This was the scene in Cleveland’s Little Italy for the Feast of the Assumption last year. But it could have been 50 years ago, or even 100. The Feast of the Assumption, the annual high point of both Little Italy and Cleveland’s Italian diaspora, has been going on since 1898 in the ethnic enclave.

The 118th celebration takes place this Friday, Aug. 12, through Monday, Aug. 15. The Feast celebrates one of the most important Catholic holy days, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven.

The high point is a solemn Mass and procession honoring the Virgin Mary. Thousands line Mayfield Road, following as the statue of Mary is carried aloft through the streets, surrounded by recent First Communicants. It also includes a church carnival, a street fair and a closing procession and fireworks.

The tradition was brought to Cleveland’s Little Italy area by immigrants in the late 1800s, many from Italy’s Abruzzi region. Read more at…

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