One image of Mary the Mother of God as a fruitful field. Christ is the great harvest of her womb. It seems fitting, then, that the feast of Mary’s birth is celebrated in harvest season, on September 8. (If you count, you will see that September 8 falls nine months after December 8, which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.)
We don’t know from either scripture or tradition where or when Mary was born, but her nativity has been celebrated since the early days of the Church. Sometime in the 500’s, St. Romanos the Melodist, an Eastern Christian hymnist, composed a hymn for the feast. That suggests the feast was known even earlier than the sixth century. The feast spread from the east to the west in the seventh century.
Traditionally, wine growers brought the grape harvest to church to be blessed on this day. Farmers traditionally brought harvested crops and winter seeds to the church to be blessed. It is a day for all who sow seeds of faith and charity to pray that they may bear and reap a rich harvest.
Bake a birthday cake today and share it with friends and family. Sing your favorite Marian hymn. Tell this story from the 13th century Legends of Mary:
A hermit had on a certain night for many years heard music in the heavens. When he asked the cause an angel answered, “The Virgin was born this night, and what is ignored on earth is being celebrated by angels.”