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Feast of Sang Marie

Aug 11, 2009, 10:23 AM

Saturday 15th August is the feast of Sang Marie. When we say 'Sang Marie" we are referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ the forerunner of Christianity. What do people know about Mary? According to Biblical sources Mary was born of Joachim and Anna. Her guardian was Zachariah , father of her cousin Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist. From her lineage she came from the leading religious family of Levi, one of the 12 tribes of Israel,from which lineage came the priests of Israel( the levitical priesthood) including Moses and Aaron . To that blessed lineage of the Levitical priesthood, God sent his angel,Gabriel, to announce to her the birth of Jesus. This message of the angel was very surprisingly delivered at a time when Mary had known no man. These accounts nevertheless are fully accounted in The Gospels (Injil), and in the Koran (Al Maryam and Al Imran).The conception of Jesus has been called the Immaculate conception, and his birth the Virgin birth, both being the most renowned and most mystical of mysteries. After the birth of Jesus, Mary took loving care of her child as any mother would, together with her husband Joseph who was of the line of Judah from which lineage the messiah was to hail.

According to all of this Divine plan, Jesus was to meet his death on a cross at Calvary. Mary his mother was there by the cross suffering with her son all the pain and sorrow of trials, persecution and crucifixion. From some historical accounts, following the death of her son , Mary stayed with the beloved disciple of Christ, John the Evangelist, in a small town Partnus in Asia Minor during the rest of her life on earth.

When she died, Mary was raised into heaven body and soul.

The assumption of Mary into heaven is what Christians celebrate on Sang Marie day. Christians in The Gambia celebrate this glorious mystery by prayers, mass, procession, and joyful social activities at the end including drumming, masquerades and communal feasting. The intensive joy and celebrations of Gambians probably stem from the fact that Mary is the patron saint of The Gambia in the extent that after her was named Island of St. Mary (Banjul) , Cape St. Mary, Kombo St. Mary, and Gambia's only two cathedral Churches on Hagan Street and Independence Drive respectively. Following her ascent into heaven, she has subsequently appeared on earth in several places There have been reported apparitions in Fatima in Portugal, Lourdes in France, in the Island of Guadaloupe among other places. Many women in The Gambia, Christians as well as Muslims, are named after Mary; hence we have names like Mary, Marianne, Marie, Maria, Mariama, Yama, Mariatou, Mariam and others.

The feast is also a public holiday in The Gambia. May u all have a blessed and happy Sang Marie!