Long Weekend in Rome for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

mercatini-di-natale-roma

Rome looks just like the Rockefeller centre. The Capital City opens its ice skating rinks, one of the activities that most recalls Christmas. Christmas celebrations will start on December 8 at the Ice Park in the Auditorium Parco della Musica. Christmas market lovers will be thrilled at the Luneur Park where little suggestive houses covered with snow will appear among typical products and quality handicraft. Castello di Lunghezza will make the little ones happy with a visit to the house of Santa Claus. Extraordinary opening of the Ara Pacis and of the Fuksas “Cloud” for the art lovers. At the farmers’ market of Capannelle a super-tasting Christmas Polenta waits for you. In the afternoon  at 4.00 pm, Pope Francis will get to the Spanish Steps for the traditional homage to the statue of the Immaculate Conception.

But when was the feast of the immaculate conception established and why is it celebrated on December 8?

Over 160 years passed since Pius IX solemnly established the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It was 08th December 1854 and the  papal bull Ineffabilis Deus stated “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful”.

The Immaculate conception is therefore a Catholic dogma and the Church established its celebration on  December 8, date that for many represents the beginning of Christmas holydays.

The wait of Christmas day also corresponds with the rituals of Mary of Nazareth, who is worshipped as the “Holy Mother of God” by Catholics and Orthodoxies. She did not go unnoticed among the secular intellectuals. Jean Paul Sartre in “Bariona, the Son of Thunder” used this beautiful words to refer to Mary who holds in her arms little Jesus: “This God is my son. This divine flesh is my flesh. He is made of me, he has my eyes and the shape of his mouth is the shape of mine. He looks like me. He is God and he looks like me. And no woman has had in lot her God for herself alone. A little God one can hold in one’s arms and cover with kisses, a warm God that smiles and breathes, a God one can touch and who lives.”