I love the feast of the Assumption, partly because it’s based on a lovely tradition in the Church and partly because it’s a reminder of the glory to come that awaits us. One day we will have a glorified life in Heaven. I also love Mary as a mother. When I went through rough times in my life, I enjoyed praying the Rosary and seeking her guidance and comfort. Here are some ideas for celebrating the Assumption of Mary in your home – especially if you have little children.
Since this day is a Holy Day in the US, the best and easiest way to celebrate will be to attend Mass with your family. (Nervous about attending Mass with small children? Check out this post for tips to make it easier and more peaceful.)
Then, you can easily extend the celebration into your home and throughout the rest of the day by including one (or several) of these ideas in your day. I am all about simple, easy, and no-fuss. Honestly, those intricate crafts that are Pinterest-worthy are not my idea of fun. Children (especially little ones) don’t need fancy activities or crafts – simple is easiest and best.
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Supplies: Blue clothing
Since blue is the color typically associated with the Blessed Mother, you can have everyone dress in blue (or have a blue accessory). At the small prayer altar we have in our home, I would have my 3-year-old put out a blue “altar cloth”. (She LOVES this job. Almost as much as my 15-month-old loves taking the cloth away down the hall with her.) Talk about how blue is often used as the color for Mary and how many pictures and statues picture her wearing blue.
We try to dress up for every Mass we attend – so even if you don’t have or want to wear blue everyone in your family can wear something a little fancier than normal.
Supplies: balloons, crepe paper, candles, paper
Children love decorations! Simple and easy is best (for them and you!). Blue (or white) crepe paper can be hung around the room or table. Blue and white construction paper can be used to make Mary cut-outs or simple doves or even paper flowers to set near your Mary statue.
My girls love painting so we may just paint some flowers or pictures for Mary and set them near our Mary statue on our home altar.
My daughters love special food and snacks. Who doesn’t? My 3-year-old gets super excited when we have a special cake or treat. Since her favorite berry is the blueberry, I love to make blueberry pancakes for her (and this would be a great day to have them for breakfast). You could make cupcakes and decorate with blue frosting (even arranging them into a one-decade Rosary bracelet). For something super simple, blueberries and yogurt for dessert.
Acting: My 3-year-old loves acting and anything with lots of movement and action. I’m sure after talking about the Assumption and Mary, she’ll want to act it out (with a blue blanket or towel as her mantle).
(We’ve played and replayed the story of Juan Diego so many times – sometimes I’m Juan Diego and she’s Our Lady and sometimes we swap, but we’re always wearing tilmas and mantles and climbing up Tepeyac to gather roses.)
Reading: We’ll probably read a story about Mary – maybe Mary: The Mother of Jesus, by Tomie dePaola or the gospel stories about Mary. (My daughter loves The Illustrated Gospel for Children by Jean-Francois Kieffer. The pictures and text are set in a comic book style and this is one of her very favorite and most requested books to read.)
Flowers: This might be a great time to plant a Mary garden or tend to it. Or a good day to gather wildflowers and bring them inside to put in a vase by your Mary statue.
Supplies: child’s bible or gospel book
Here are some special ideas you can choose from to incorporate into your family prayer time:
Depending on the age of your children and their attention span you could read some bible verses related to the assumption (or reread all of the Mass readings of the day). (Mass readings: Rv 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB; Psalm 45; 1 Cor 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56)
Interactive and theatrical prayers times (and bible readings) are great for small children. After the reading, act it out (or draw a picture of the scene together). When we act the scene, we get everyone involved. Even our 15-month-old plays bit parts.
Pray the Glorious Mystery of the Assumption (or the five Glorious Mysteries)
Pray a litany to Mary (or part of a litany if you have very small children).
Make up a spontaneous prayer of your own and encourage your children to do so as well. My 3-year-old will often say spontaneous prayers on her own or when gently prompted by me.
Sing a special hymn to Mary. Here are some of our favorites:
Immaculate Mary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsoVBQvaLDM
Salve Regina https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1B91RUv2lI8
Mary, We Crown Thee With Blossoms Today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCho70C-Pl0
Rev 12:1 A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
For older children and teens:
Encourage each one to lead a decade of the Rosary and offer it for a particular intention. Discuss with them one (or a few) of Mary’s virtues and how she exemplified that virtue in her life (and that’s why she was taken up into heaven).
Action step: have your older child or teen talk about ways they can live that specific virtue in their daily lives (at school, at church, in the community, at their jobs, at home, etc.) Be specific – we all need to make specific, concrete resolutions in order to grow. They could write them down in a journal or notebook and look at the resolutions again in a week or a month.
I really encourage you to celebrate feasts and solemnities in a special way with your children. You can choose one or two simple, easy-to-implement ideas and make them traditions in your family for celebrating the Assumption of Mary in your home. This will help your children understand the importance of feast days and give them beautiful memories in reference to prayer and celebrating the life of the Church. Pray together as a family and share your own tips and ideas below.
(Fun fact: August 15 is India’s Independence Day. We’ll be celebrating this in our home as well!)