The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth is a festival of the Western Christian calendar. It is celebrated on 31 May annually.
The Visitation recalls the event recounted in Luke 1.39. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, after the Annunciation that she will conceive, sets out to visit her relative (the exact relationship is uncertain) Elizabeth, who is also pregnant. Elizabeth, carry the unborn John the Baptist, feels her child leap in the womb on the sound of Mary's greeting. Filled with the Holy Spirit, both women make prophetic pronouncements that a time of fulfilment is upon them. Mary's prophetic hymn, the Magnificat, is repeated at vespers in many church traditions. The beginning of Elizabeth's statement — "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb" — is part of the popular prayer Ave, Maria.
The first celebration of the feast of the Visitation occurred in 1263 at Franciscan Order General Chapter. The feast proved popular and spread quickly. Many Protestant churches celebrate the Visitation even though they may have rejected some of the more ancient feasts of Mary. This is mostly due to the feast's sound origin in a biblical text.