by Sister Spero
The Feast of the Nativity of Mary (or Mary’s birthday) has been celebrated on September 8th for at least 15 centuries.
We know this because of “Romanos the Melodist,” a Jewish convert to Christianity from Syria in the late 5th century. He became a deacon in Constantinople, the center of the Christian faith at the time.
There is a story told about Romanos that he felt very inadequate when it came to music, and did not like his own voice. When he was asked to lead a special service, the All-Night Vigil, he pleaded with the Mother of God to help him, and fell asleep in his prayers. He dreamt that Mary came to him with a scroll, and said, “Here, eat this.” He woke up full of joy, and the next night, at the All-Night Vigil, he sang with such a strong, clear voice that everyone was amazed. After this he wrote many hymns, including one for the Feast of Nativity of Mary on September 8th, which is how historians date this feast.