On Tuesday August 15th, 2017, in observation of Assumption Day here in Mantasoa, Madagascar us Peace Corps Trainees got a a day off from our busy training schedule. We were all very happy to have a day to rest and spend time with our families. Assumption Day is a holiday that is mainly observed by Malagasy Catholics; It is a feast day that celebrates God elevation of Virgin Mary into the heaven after her death. Assumption Day commemorates the belief that when Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, died, her body was not subjected to the usual process of physical decay but was “Assumed” into heaven and reunited there with her soul. This holiday, which has been celebrated since the fourth century CE, is a Christianization of an earlier harvest festival and, in many parts of Europe, is known as the Feast of Our Lady of the Harvest.
My host mom Neny Doline who is a devout christian and catholic catechist spent 2 days leading up to Assumption day fasting and praying at the Catholic church Manjakandriana which is about a 45 minute drive from Mantasoa. In Madagascar on Assumption day devout catholics celebrate by going to the market and buying special fruits and vegetables and breaking fast by preparing a special feast. In support of my Neny I told her that I would be in charge of preparing a special meal for the family in observation of Assumption day. She was very happy and requested I prepare traditional Dominican Food and made a very special request that I make the Mangahazo Mofo (what she calls them) which are the Cassava fritters (Arepita de Yucca) that I made for them a couple of weeks earlier. So with the help of my host sister Cantu together we prepared we prepared Moro de Maiz y Zanaoria (yellow rice with corn and carrots), Pollo Guisado (braised chicken), Arepita de Yucca (casava fritters) and a green salad. The feast turned out to be absolutely delicious and my Neny ended up asking me for the recipe for the meal.