Feast of the Immaculate Conception


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Immaculate Conception, Feast of the

December 8
Theological controversy surrounded this festival for centuries, though popular celebration of it dates to at least the eighth century. The argument hinged on the meaning of the word "immaculate," which in this context refers to the belief that Jesus' mother Mary was conceived without original sin, the basic inclination toward wrongdoing that originates from the sin of Adam. Many leading theologians, including St. Thomas Aquinas, questioned the Immaculate Conception.
Although for many years it remained open for debate, in 1854 Pope Pius IX proclaimed it to be an essential dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, and since that time the Feast of the Immaculate Conception has celebrated God's choice of Mary to give birth to His Son. This is also a pious belief held by many Anglicans.
In Guam, this is a legal holiday also known as Our Lady of Camarin Day, commemorating a statute of Mary that a fisherman found floating off the coast. It is observed on the fourth Thursday in November.
CONTACTS:
The Mary Page
Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute
University of Dayton
Dayton, OH 45469
www.udayton.edu
Guam Visitors Bureau
1301 Marina Village Pkwy., Ste. 210
Alameda, CA 94501
800-873-4826 or 510-865-0366; fax: 510-865-5165
www.visitguam.org
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 818
BkFest-1937, pp. 190, 271
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 131
BkHolWrld-1986, Dec 8
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 308
DictWrldRel-1989, p. 338
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 694
OxYear-1999, p. 490
RelHolCal-2004, p. 85
SaintFestCh-1904, p. 14

Immaculate Conception, Feast of the (Argentina)
December 8
Although a number of special fiestas are held in Argentina on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, the celebration held in Catamarca stands out. It focuses on the Virgen del Valle, an image of the Virgin Mary that was found in a nearby cave in 1620. Her broad, dark face and narrow eyes marked the Virgen as clearly the product of an indigenous artist.
Every town and hamlet in Catamarca province and in several neighboring provinces has its own replica of the statue, and all bring their images to the provincial capital of San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca for the December 8 procession. Some pilgrims make the journey on foot, which means that they must set out in November to get there on time. Many wear special costumes, and almost everyone also brings brightly hued pennants and flags. They make music with indigenous instruments along the way. When they reach Catamarca, they participate in many of the competitive games associated with the fiesta. The climax of the festival is the procession in which the original image of the Virgen del Valle is escorted through the streets of town while spectators throw white handkerchiefs in the air.
CONTACTS:
National Secretariat of Tourism, Tourist Information Centers
Av. Santa Fe 883
Buenos Aires, C1059ABC Argentina
54-11-4312-2232; fax: 54-11-4302-7816
www.turismo.gov.ar/eng/menu.htm
SOURCES:
FiestaTime-1965, p. 177
(c)

Celebrated in: Argentina


Immaculate Conception, Feast of the (Malta)
December 8
The Republic of Malta is a small country in the central Mediterranean that consists of seven islands. The Maltese Islands have a strong Catholic population that celebrates a wide variety of festivities throughout the religious year.
Maltese families tend to be quite close-knit, and the holidays are a time to strengthen the sense of community and reinforce family bonds. The Maltese people are proud of their religion and parishes, and they go to great lengths to organize and prepare for the celebration day.
Each year many countries, including Malta, celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. It is a public holiday set aside to commemorate the birth of the virgin Mary, who is known to the Maltese as "Our Lady without sin." In Malta, this day is one of the feast days celebrated by many Catholics. Feast days are a big part of life on the islands. However, the most important events to all villages are their individual festas —celebrations with fireworks, decorated streets, and carts throughout the villages selling many different foods, including traditional sweets and delicacies such as Maltese nougat—honoring their parish patron saint.
CONTACTS:
Malta Tourism Authority
Auberge D'Italie
Merchants St.
Valetta VLT 1170 Malta
www.visitmalta.com

Celebrated in: Malta


Immaculate Conception, Feast of the (Mexico)
December 8
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is an important day throughout Latin America, but it is especially significant in the Mexican town of San Juan de los Lagos in Jalisco State, where the celebration begins several days in advance. The town's inhabitants temporarily rename the streets where the festival will occur. On Calle de Alegria (Joy Street), for example, there are puppet shows, side shows, games of chance, food stands, and musical performances. On Calle del Azúcar (Sugar Street), all kinds of sweets are sold, including the highly prized alfajor, which is a candy made from honey and nuts. And on Calle de las Pieles (Street of Hides), there are exhibitions of animal skins and beautifully made leather goods for sale.
On the morning of December 8, the 11-inch image of the Virgin Mary leaves the local church, carried by priests on a silver litter. Later that afternoon festival organizers put two silver cups on the altar. In one there are scraps of paper bearing the names of devout community members, while the other cup contains blank pieces of paper—with one exception that says "Fiesta de Nuestra Senora de San Juan." Papers are removed two at a time, one from each cup, and the person whose name matches up with the name of the fiesta is in charge of the celebration the following year. Gun shots and ringing bells accompany this news, for it is considered a great honor to be chosen.
CONTACTS:
Jalisco State Tourism Institution
Moreles No. 102
Plaza Tapata
Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico
52-215-679-9610
SOURCES:
FiestaTime-1965, p. 173
(c)

Celebrated in: Mexico

References in periodicals archive ?
8 of every year a nonworking holiday to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
28 Republic Act 10966 to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The new law declares December 8 as a special nonworking holiday in observance of the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, "the Principal Patroness of the Philippines.
569, which honoured the late former Supreme Court Associate Justice and former Secretary General of the 1987 Constitutional Commission Flerida Ruth Romero and House Bill 5241, which sought to declare December 8 or the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a special non-working holiday.
That day in 1941 was the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates Mary as the first one redeemed by Christ; we might think of her as the first fully human person in history, the one who fulfilled all her potential as a child of God, a fully self-giving collaborator with the plan of God.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a major occasion in many countries throughout the world.
That impression is confirmed by The Name of God is Mercy, a series of interviews with Italian journalist and vaticanista Andrea Torniellli reflecting on the "Year of Mercy" declared by Francis (from the highly Catholic dates of the feast of the Immaculate Conception [December 8, 2015] to the feast of Christ the King [November 20, 2016]), symbolized by opening the "Door of Mercy," the northernmost entrance to St.
Michael is just back from Lourdes from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and he's already planning the Christmas trip, leaving on December 23.
Vatican insiders have disclosed the most likely date is December 8 - the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
At the Congregation, cardinals and bishops mooted a canonisation ceremony taking place in December and possible date could be December 8 on which Catholics celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the report added.

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