The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is celebrated on 8 December.
The doctrine of the day teaches that Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, was
conceived without sin and her conception was thus immaculate.
Jesus was miraculously conceived inside Mary, who was a virgin at the time.
That is the Biblical concept of the virgin birth.
In the 5th Century in Syria, the feast of the Conception is celebrated as the
Most Holy and All Pure Mother of God on December 9. In the 7th Century, the
idea of Mary's spotless or immaculate did not define exactly what this meant.
Today the majority of Orthodox Christians would not accept the definition.
After the feast was translated to the Western Church in the eighth century, it
began to be celebrated on December 8th. It spread from the Byzantine area of
Southern Italy to Normandy during the period of Norman dominance over southern
Italy. From there it spread into England, France, Germany, and eventually Rome.
Old Catholics do not reject the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and some of
their parishes venerate Mary as immaculately conceived and celebrate the feast
of her Immaculate Conception. But they do not accept its definition.
Most Protestants reject the doctrine because they do not consider the development
of dogmatic theology to be authoritative apart from biblical exegesis, and
because the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, is not taught in the Bible.
It is the patronal feast day of the United States and the Republic of the
Philippines. It is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church as well as a few
other closely related Christian churches.
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed as infallible by Pope
Pius IX in the bull Ineffabilis Deus in 1854.
While the Eastern Orthodox Churches have never accepted the Roman Catholic
dogma of the day, they do celebrate December 9 as the Feast of the Conception
by St. Anne of the Most Holy Theotokos.
In Islam, they adopted Mary's Spotlessness, Muhammad taught the doctrine of the
immaculate conception of Mary, saying: "There is not one of the sons of Adam,
except Mary and her Son, one born but is touched by the Devil at the time of
his birth, and the child makes a loud noise from the touch".
People celebrating the day by lighting the candle, it can be made by attaching
a picture or figure of the Infant Jesus to the base of a large pillar-type candle.
On the Immaculate Conception, have the children light "Mary's candle" when
they say their prayers.
It would also be appropriate to have children place a rose before a picture
or image of the Mary on this day.
The Collect for this feast and the Mary can be added to the mealtime prayers
at the evening meal or for family prayers before bedtime.
It is a public holiday in Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Chile, Colombia, Costa
Rica, East Timor, Italy, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malta, Monaco, Nicaragua, Peru,
Portugal, San Marino, Seychelles, Spain, Vatican City, Venezuela.