Eve Of The Feast Of The Immaculate Conception

In many countries around the world, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is observed to commemorate Mary’s conception without sin. However, in Colombia, not only is this holiday celebrated, but also the day before it.

The Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a holiday in this country that’s also known as Día de las Velitas in Spanish or Little Candles Day in English. This day is the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season in Colombia and is an important day in the eyes of the faithful.

Although it’s an important day in this country, it’s not a public holiday, so day-to-day activity continues as normal. This day is observed annually on December 7th, the day before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The History of the Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

This holiday can be traced back to December 7th of 1854. This is when Pope Pius IX defined the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary as dogma and subsequently published it in the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus. In anticipation of this decision, paper lanterns and candles were lit in Colombia, as well as in other countries around the world, in support of this dogma.

Observing the Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

On this holiday, people often place paper lanterns and candles on their windowsills, porches, sidewalks, and balconies. Paper lanterns are also placed on streets, in parks, and in squares. It’s customary for people to raise a white flag that has an image of the Virgin Mary on it outside of their homes.

Although this isn’t a public holiday, it is a day that’s widely celebrated. People attend religious services, fairs, parties, and even competitions on this day. There is also a fireworks display in the skies over many cities.

Where is it celebrated?
Colombia (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
December 7 Saturday
Next year (2025)
December 7 Sunday
Last year (2023)
December 7 Thursday