Nov 5, 2008, 5:19 AM
Sang Marie, the same Sang Marie you know is here as Christians prepare for the joyous celebrations. And again Christian Panorama is pleased again this year to receive contribution from Charles Sarr Thomas as usual, who is an executive member of the Inter-denominational Group for Peace and Dialogue in The Gambia and a veteran footballer.
Saturday 15th August is the feast of Saint Mary locally called Sang Marie. On this day Christians, particularly Roman Catholics, celebrate the glorious mystery of the Blessed Virgin Mary's assumption into Heaven. According to Church and other religious accounts, Mary the Mother of Jesus upon the end of her life on earth was raised Body and Soul to Heaven, a mystery equaled only, apparently, by her own miraculous conception and birth of her Miracle-Child, Jesus.
In The Gambia, the feast is marked by public processions, religious services, and much communal rejoicing. Gambian Christians perform the street processions each year, come rain or shine. Many have even expressed preference for rain, heavy rain for that matter, as the phenomenon of rain from Heaven seems to symbolise or represent the pouring down of grace from Heaven, an acceptance of prayers and a token response of love from our dear mother, Mary Queen of Peace. The event is fully infused with Marian hymns and songs of filial love and devotion. In addition to procession, there are religious services and devotion in Churches country wide with adoration and litany of praises to Mary. Ending the day is the final burst of festive celebration ranging from Police or Army Band, musical renditions to Mary, to local drumming, masquerades, discotheque music, food and refreshments. All in all, the day is considered by some as a day of spiritual devotion, of praise and thanksgiving, of love and honour to Mary, and of intra-denominational felicitations.
One could say that the vast celebrations are most fitting for Gambians, Christians and non-Christians alike. Apart from the two cathedrals in
What do you know about Mary?
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
According to this Divine plan, Jesus was to meet his death on a cross at
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
On this occasion therefore, we should not forget to convey special greetings to all those Gambians named after the Blessed Virgin Mary: all those called Mariama, Mariam, Maryam, Miriam, Marie, Maria, Mariatou, Yama, Mary, May, Marianne, Sang Marie and more. We pray that they receive special love and protection of their blessed namesake on this day and after. To Gambians in joint celebrations, we say congratulations and felicitations. May God grant us life to witness the event again in the coming year. As they say in Wollof: "Ndokale len ko; Yalla nanyu ko fekkeh daywen!"