A priest said that he had an elderly aunt who spent every summer at the shore, but who never went in the water except on August 15. “There is," he said, “a cure in the waters on that day."
Another tradition is followed in some coastal areas with public processions to the ocean where the seas are also blessed on the feast, especially in fishing communities. Carrying a statue of Mary, they read passages from the gospels where Jesus went fishing with His apostles, they toss garlands of flowers into the water and pray the Magnificat when Holy Water is sprinkled on the ocean. They, too, believe that a cure may result when wading in the waters. Participants bring empty bottles (as we did) to fill at the shore and bring the bottles to those who are unable to attend and many wade in the waters to “catch" the cure.
Some speculate it might be because Mary is known as The Star of the Sea. Others say that the custom may date back to 15th century Italy, when a bishop, traveling upon a stormy sea on the Feast of the Assumption, threw his pastoral ring into the sea and calmed the waters. Over time, the faithful attributed healing powers to the waters blessed on this feast. Whatever the case may be, it is a treasured way of remembering and calling attention to The Blessed Virgin Mary's Assumption, body and soul, into heaven.