Feast of the Immaculate Conception
When is Feast of the Immaculate Conception?
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Christian holiday celebrated every December 8th. Observed primarily in Catholic churches, the holiday upholds the belief that Jesus was conceived without sin by the Virgin Mary. The types of celebrations vary by region, as well as various sects within Christianity.
According to Christian scripture, Jesus was conceived by the Virgin Mary. It is often referred to as an “Immaculate Conception.” However, there was much debate about the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth throughout the history of Christianity. Some questioned whether the circumstances, as well as whether Mary was born without original sin.
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX cleared up the controversies through his Ineffabilis Deus. Through this written piece of work, Pope Pius IX declared that Mary was not born through original sin, and that God would not have chosen her to be the mother of Jesus of this wasn’t the case. Since then, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception has become an important holiday for many Christians across the globe.
Types of Celebrations
The most common way people celebrate this holiday is by attending special church events and masses. This is particularly the case in Catholic churches. Preachers and priests prepare special sermons about the importance of the Virgin Mary, and to uphold the idea of Immaculate Conception.
Some households may also hold individual celebrations for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This can be in the form of an extended family get-together, a large family prayer, or a special dinner. Such celebrations are more common in Catholic families. Symbols of the Virgin Mary are prevalent during this holiday, primarily in the form of paintings of her with stars above her head. Another important symbol of the holiday is the Our Lady of Camarin statue, which was found in Guam during the 1700s.
Extent of Celebrations
The extent of the celebrations often varies by region. In the continental United States, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception isn’t considered a public holiday because of secularism in the country. If December 8th falls on a weekday, government employees still go to work, and students to still go public school. Some Catholic schools don’t have classes that day, but may instead require church attendance.
Guam, a territory of the United States, is an exception. Here the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a public holiday. This is partly due to the finding of the Our Lady of Camarin statue over three centuries ago. While the holiday has been challenged in the past, most citizens of Guam strongly support the extent of celebrations surrounding the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In Guam, the holiday is more commonly referred to as Our Lady of Camarin Day.
Some countries outside of the United States regard the Feast of the Immaculate Conception as a public holiday. These include heavy Catholic countries, such as Spain, Argentina and Peru. It is also a public holiday in Vatican City, the world’s Catholic center in Rome, Italy.