Immaculate Conception Day in Italy in 2024

  How long until Immaculate Conception Day?
Immaculate Conception Day
  Dates of Immaculate Conception Day in Italy
2025 Italy Mon, Dec 8 Public Holiday
2024 Italy Sun, Dec 8 Public Holiday
2023 Italy Fri, Dec 8 Public Holiday
2022 Italy Thu, Dec 8 Public Holiday
2021 Italy Wed, Dec 8 Public Holiday

It is a day that celebrates the belief that Mary, mother of Jesus, was preserved from original sin all of her life

  Local name
Immacolata Concezione
  Immaculate Conception Day in other countries
Immaculate Conception Day internationally

Immaculate Conception Day in Italy

Italians view the day, known in Italy as L'Immacolata, as the official start of the Christmas shopping season

At an annual ceremony that takes place near Rome's Spanish Steps and near its upscale shopping district, the Pope leads a religious ceremony to mark the official start of Rome's Christmas season. Another Roman tradition on 8 December is the illumination of the capital's Christmas tree in Piazza Venezia.

Usually on December 8th, the pope lays a wreath at the foot of the 12-metre tall Colonna della Immacolata, by the statue of the Madonna in Rome’s Piazza Mignanelli, while members of the Italian fire service place another floral wreath on the arm of the statue.

When is Immaculate Conception?

Any Christian holiday that takes place in December is always in the shadow of Christmas Day. It is therefore surprising to some to see how many countries observe this holiday.

On December 8th, many countries including Argentina, Austria, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with a public holiday.

In the Philippines in 2017, President Duterte signed a law that declared the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th as a national holiday in recognition of the Filipinos’ strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This has now become a special working day.

This day is also a holiday in Panama, who celebrate Mother's Day with a public holiday on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Guam also observe a public holiday to venerate a statue of Mary on December 8th. 

History of Immaculate Conception

It is a day that celebrates the belief that Mary, mother of Jesus, was preserved from original sin all of her life.

For Roman Catholics, it is observed as a day of obligation with required church attendance.

The Immaculate Conception is a day whose meaning is often confused. By the sounds of it, one would think we would celebrate the day Jesus was conceived*. On the contrary, it is the day that the Blessed Mother Mary was conceived. 

Mary's mother was St. Anne and her father was Joachim. While they are not mentioned in the bible, their names appear in some very early Christian texts. Anne and Joachim had been a childless couple until an angel appeared telling Anne that she would give birth to a child that the world would honour. Anne became a saint as she offered her child to God's service.

This day has been celebrated since at least the eighth century, but the idea that the word immaculate means that Mary was born without original sin divided many theological scholars over the centuries. It wasn't until 1854 that the argument was decided when Pope Pious IX proclaimed this belief to be an essential dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.

*If you think about it, December 8th is unlikely to be the date that Jesus was "conceived". It is the Feast of the Annunciation that celebrates the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce to her that she would become the mother of Jesus. The date of the Feast of the Annunciation is March 25th - nine months before Christmas Day. Once the date of Christmas was finally accepted, then the March 25th was a no-brainer to be the date of the annunciation.

Immaculate Conception Traditions in Italy

All schools and public offices will be closed. Banks are closed and there will be no postal service.

However most shops remain open as the day is generally viewed as the official start of the Christmas shopping season.

Some towns may be busier than normal as this is often the day that the Christmas lights are switched on.

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