Traditions cherished at feast of Virgin Mary.
Virgin Mary Church -- Egypt Today/Hossam Atef CAIRO -- 21 August 2018: Many Christians will celebrate in the upcoming few days the closing ceremony of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in churches across Egypt by upholding special traditions passed down from generation to generation. The 15-day-festival known as Mulid Al-Adra or 'the Feast of the Virgin', which takes place every year from August 7 to 22, is well known in Egypt and is celebrated by Orthodox Christians, who believe that Virgin Mary was bodily taken up into heaven at the end of her life. Copts in Egypt care for the fast of the Virgin and practice it with strict self-discipline, and some people begin this fast a full week early to honor her and to thank her intercession. The ceremony features ecclesiastical rituals and popular festivals with Coptic churches across Egypt open to congregants all day, performing liturgies and presenting choir performances. The ceremony usually begins with praying; then, deacons carry a large icon of the Virgin Mary and candles to move around the church and children in the white ministers' clothes walk in the front. Muslims and Christians celebrate the feast by setting up tents where peddlers sell their goods and children line up for their turn to get crosses tattooed and decorate their bodies with other religious symbols. Some people usually visit the famous Virgin monasteries such as the monastery of the Virgin Mary at Mount Dronka, Assiut, where the Holy Family: Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Joseph, stayed during their trip to Upper Egypt, or the Virgin Mary Church in the eastern Cairo district of Zeitoun where the Virgin Mary appeared over the church's dome in 1968.
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