Every 8 December is Immaculate Conception Day in the Philippines, a holiday that is commemorated in many other Roman Catholic-majority countries around the world.
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The devout in the Philippines attend special masses on this day in honour of the Virgin Mary and the belief in her having been conceived without sin. The day is also supposed to be a day when Catholics avoid any “unnecessary work”.
The main event on Immaculate Conception in the Philippines is the procession of Marian images from all over the country around the old walled city in Manila. There are 90 or more such images, many of them very ornate and associated with claims of miraculous appearances and healings or the like. This event is often dubbed, “The Grand Marian Procession”.
The carriages that carry the images of Mary, called “carrozas”, are also very ornate and are filled with flowers and lit candles. And a marching band may accompany the images “Marian parade”.
The first of these Immaculate Conception processions took place in 1619, was designed to promote the catechism, and lasted for 15 days. The modern ones are shorter, but have more images and are focused on reverencing the Virgin Mary rather than the catechism as such.
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