One of the largest celebrations of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary take places every year on 15 August in Sinj.
More than 100,000 Catholic believers passed on Monday through the Gate of Mercy in Sinj, where they celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the largest Marian shrine in southern Croatia. The celebrations began with the Holy Mass at dawn, and continued with masses in the church every hour on the hour. According to age-old traditions, at 7 am a mass was held at the old city where on August 15, 1715, during the miraculous defence of Sinj from the Ottoman conquerors, both Our Lady of Sinj and the Sinjska Alka knight game were born.
The main celebration began at 9.30 am with a procession which was attended by some 50,000 people. Franciscans took off from the altar the picture of Our Lady of Sinj in its silver frame and took it to the main town square. Among the crowd, the picture of Our Lady was welcomed by Sinj Alkar knights, including the winner of this year’s competition Tino Radanović. At all times, believers were sprinkling the picture of Our Lady with rose petals. During the procession, the Golden Holy Rosary was carried in front of the picture.
In addition to the Franciscans and Alkar knights, the picture was carried by members of various associations, nuns, theologians, and others. At the head of the procession a cross carrier walked, followed by flags of Our Lady of Sinj and Croatia, as well as flags of a large number of parishes and a number of veterans and other organizations. They were all followed by a multitude of believers from Sinj, the whole Cetina region, Dalmatia, other parts of Croatia, neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and pilgrims who had arrived from all over the world.
When the procession arrived in front of the Municipal Court, it paused for a moment so that, according to the tradition, a blessing could be given. Upon the arrival to the final destination, a mass was held led by Split-Makarska Archbishop Marin Barišić. At the end of the celebrations, before the Archbishop invoked God’s blessing, words of thanks were said for the procession in Sinj, which is one of the most beautiful such events in the world. After the blessing, old cannons from the old town could be heard, and the celebrations ended with the singing of Croatian national anthem.