December is fast approaching and we are all thinking about Christmas, but first we have another national bank holiday to enjoy.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated on Sunday 8th December every year, exactly nine months before the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 8).
It is normally a bank holiday, but because the 8th falls on a Sunday this year, the Immaculate Conception bank holiday will roll over to the Monday (9th). Normal festivities and celebrations will still be held on the 8th, but we can all enjoy the added bonus of also having a bank holiday the day after!
The Immaculate Conception day is a holy day of obligation and many Christians, particularly within the Catholic faith, will attend special church services to mark the occasion. Many see it as the beginning of the Christmas season in Spain.
So what is the Immaculate Conception?
The holiday, by Pontifical designation and decree, is a patronal feast day celebrated in Argentina, Brazil, Korea, Paraguay, Philippines, Italy and Spain.
The Catholic belief is that Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was born sinless and from early tradition it is believed that an angel appeared to her parents and told them that they would have a daughter who “the world would honour”. It has also been told that Mary’s mother Saint Anne was childless before giving birth to Mary and that from her birth she pledged Mary to God’s service.
The Immaculate Conceptions first celebrations date back to at least the 8th Century A.D and to continue with tradition, special masses will be held on 8th December throughout Spain.
During this time, it is common to see statues of Mary being paraded through the streets and can be seen right across the country.
Predominantly though, the Immaculate Conception holiday in Spain is a day to share with family, so you will see many families out walking and dining or just simply spending the day together.
For a full list of all the national and regional bank holidays in Spain for 2020, please see our post at https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/spain-news/825-spain-bank-holidays-2020.html