About the Season
One of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church is the Dormition of the Theotokos which is celebrated on August 15/28. From August 1/14 until August 14/27 we observe a fast. This period is known as the “Fifteen days of August” or Δεκαπενταύγουστο.
During this fast we abstain from meat, dairy products, fish, wine, and oil during the weekdays and we eat wine and oil on the weekends. On the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ; Aug. 6/19 we eat fish because it is a feast of the Master, Christ.
We chant the Small and Great Supplicatory Canons alternately at Vespers save Saturday night and the eves of Transfiguration and Dormition.
This is one of the strictest fasts of the Orthodox Church comparable to the Great Fast. This is due to the greatness of the feast of the Dormition which is sometimes called the “Summer Pascha” because of its resurrectional nature. The severity of this fast is compensated by its brevity on the one hand and the joyous nature of the daily Supplicatory Canons on the other, which is something the faithful anticipate with spiritual longing.
This is the way with which the Church, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, seeks to prepare us for the upcoming Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos; through prayer and fasting.