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File image of women carrying Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Arroyo de la Miel, Benalmádena. SUR
Why is today, 8 December, a public holiday in Spain?
History

Why is today, 8 December, a public holiday in Spain?

Many people will get to enjoy another day off work this week as the date marks the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Jennie Rhodes

Malaga

Friday, 8 December 2023, 06:57

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Today, 8 December, is the second of two public holidays in Spain in early December. The first is on 6 December, or Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución) which marks the date in 1978 when the new constitution was approved following the end of the Franco regime.

Two days later (today) is Día de la Inmaculada Concepción (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), which has been celebrated in Spain since 1854 when Pope Pius the ninth, through the Papal Bull 'God Ineffable' (Ineffabilis Deus) gave the Spanish Crown the privilege of allowing priests in Spain and its territories to wear blue vestments in honour of this important day.

Contrary to popular belief, the Immaculate Conception celebrates the conception of the Virgin Mary and not her son, Jesus Christ. Christians and especially Catholics believe that on 8 December, Saint Anne, the Virgin Mary's mother, became pregnant with Mary through natural means.

According to the New Testament, God chose Mary from the moment of her conception to be the mother of Jesus and so Mary was, from the very first moment of her existence, pure and without sin.

The date is exactly nine months before Mary's birth, on September 8th, which is also celebrated in Catholic countries as the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although Malaga celebrates Our Lady of the Victory on that day.

Immaculate Conception day is celebrated as a saint's day by the Catholic church in Argentina, Brazil, Korea, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Spain, the United States, Uruguay and Portugal. It is also recognised by the Protestant church in some countries.

Since 1953, the Pope, as Bishop of Rome, has visited the Column of the Immaculate Conception in Piazza di Spagna in the city, to offer expiatory prayers commemorating the event.

Processions

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception has been the patron saint of Guaro in Malaga province since 1854 and every year on 7 and 8 of December there are processions through the town and other religious acts.

There are also processions in Arroyo de la Miel, where the women of the Rocío brotherhood process through the streets carrying a statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. She is also patron of Sierra de Yeguas, Alameda, Teba and Almargen.

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