Miracle on the Vistula
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is celebrated on 15 August. The same day also marks the Day of the Polish Armed Forces, which is linked to the anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw in 1920, also known as the ‘Miracle on the Vistula.’
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in Poland also known as the Day of the ‘Herbal’ Mother of God, is celebrated in the Catholic Church all over the world. In Poland, it is usually connected with the custom of blessing and offering gifts of herbs, cereals, vegetables and flowers. A blessed harvest is thought to ensure security and harmony at home. It is a public holiday and on 15 August, all churches hold solemn masses. On this day pilgrimages on foot from all across Poland reach the sanctuary at Jasna Góra in Częstochowa. Praying and singing, pilgrims cover up to several hundred kilometres in less than twenty days. Apart from those travelling on foot, pilgrims also make their way to Jasna Góra Monastery on bicycles and roller skates.
Also on 15 August, the Day of the Polish Armed Forces is celebrated to commemorate the Battle of Warsaw. The battle, fought from 12 to 25 August 1920 during the Polish-Soviet War, was won by Poland and is considered a major milestone in world history. It not only ensured the Polish independence, but also prevented communism and Soviet totalitarianism from spreading all over Europe.
On this day, mass is held at military churches for soldiers who died on the battlefield and Roll of Honour ceremonies take place at cemeteries. In Warsaw, an Honorary Change of the Guard attended by state authorities is held in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.