When we were kids, we took to the waters with the whole extended family on Aug. 15th — the Feast of the Assumption. I recently heard it was popularly called “Salt Water Day.”
According to pious legend, as the Blessed Virgin rose to heaven on this day, she wept and her tears fell into the ocean. The belief is that every year on this day, Mary’s tears reactivate, bringing good health to those who bathe in the sea.
So, for generations who had survived diptheria, influenza, polio and a host of other, now curable diseases, this custom had a powerful attraction. My dad, never failed to dip his feet in the ocean. And some started the family custom of bringing back water to those who could not make the trip themselves.
Things are scaled back now. But the tradition still lives on. Many have made the trek to the water's edge and gathered up two gallon milk jugs of water to give to friends in need of some help with their health.