December 8, Immacolata in Rome · Immaculate Conception Feast

You are in Rome on December 8 and see processions and praying people in the centre and wondering what’s going on? You are at the Feast of Immacolata in Rome, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. This festival marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Rome. In Rome, the conception of the Virgin Mary is celebrated large and extensive. Find out here what’s going on in Rome on December 8.

The Feast of Immacolata Concezione is national holiday in Italy and is on Tuesday this year. Preparations for the feast begin in the Vatican the day before.

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Inauguration of the nativity scene at St. Peter’s Square

Inauguration Nativity St. Peter's Square band
Band at the Inauguration of the Nativity in St. Peter’s Square

It is not yet knows where nativity scene and Christmas tree will come from in 2021.

The nativity scene in 2020 was made of ceramic figures. It came from Castelli, a place at the foot of the Gran Sasso in the Apennines with a millennia-old tradition in the production of ceramics. The 28 m high tree came from Slovenia. In 2019 the crib and tree came from the Italian Alps. The nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square with life-size wooden figures came from Scurelle in the province of Trento. The year before, the crib was built of sand from Jesolo. Every year, the nativity scene comes from a different place and follows the style and traditions of its place of origin.

The inauguration of the nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square will take place on Friday, 10 December 2021 at 16:30. The ceremony lasts about one hour. Nativity scene and tree remain in St. Peter’s Square until January 09, 2022.

Honoring the Virgin Mary

December 8 is an extraordinary day in the center of Rome. At the center of Marian devotion is the Marian Column next to the Spanish Square, in front of the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See.

The Marian devotion begins on December 8, 7:30 am with the fire department.

The course of honour of the Virgin Mary

Immacolata Rome Spanish ambassador
The Spanish ambassador and dignitaries

7:30: A fireman reaches the statue of the Virgin on a fire ladder and decorates it with a flower wreath

8:30: A procession from the church of Santa Caterina da Siena in via Urbana reaches the Marian Column

9:00: A procession of the parish of Sant’ Andrea delle Fratte reaches the column

The following are: the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, the group of “Legio Mariae” and, around 9:30 the Music Corps of the Vatican Gendarmerie, which also honors the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See. From 10:30 onwards, workers from important Roman companies will follow. Thereafter, knights and ladies of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, a procession of persons with disabilities, from 11:30 the female committee of the Italian Red Cross, nurses and students.

12:00 Honour by the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See and Spanish dignitaries

This will be followed until 1 pm by representatives of various Italian regions.

3:30 pm: Procession of the pilgrimage organisation Unitalsi

3:45 pm: Homage to the statue of the Virgin by dignitaries of the city of Rome

4 pm:Homage of the Virgin Mary by the Pope

Immacolata, Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica opening hours

Immacolata Rome Musician of the Vatican Gendarmerie
Musician of the Vatican’s gendarmerie at the Spanish Square

The Vatican Museums are closed. St. Peter’s Basilica is normally open. At 12 o’clock you can attend the Pope’s Angelus Prayer on St. Peter’s square.

December 8 Opening hours museums and shops in Rome

The national museums and museums of the municipality of Rome follow normal opening hours. This year they are closed due to the coronavirus. Most shops in the center, supermarkets and shopping centers are open. Smaller shops may be closed.

What to do for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Rome

At noon the Pope prays the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square. At 3:20pm the Pope visits the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore to honor the Byzantine icon of the Madonna and Child in the Cappella Paolina, but it is cancelled this year. The icon has been called Salus Populi Romani since the 19th century – salvation of the Roman people – and it is credited with numerous wonders. At 4pm the Pope arrives at the Marian Column near the Spanish Square.

In the center of Rome you will find many beautiful Christmas decorated shops for shopping. The mayor Virgin Raggi inaugurates the Christmas tree in Piazza Venezia in the evening. The time is not known.

The Roman cuisine is perfect for the cold season.

If you want something out of the city center, a visit to the catacombs on the Via Appia is very interesting, but they are closed this year.

It is also impressive to visit the excavations of the antique trading town in Ostia Antica, which you can reach by metro from Piramide station. They are closed this year. After visiting the excavations, you could take the metro to Ostia and enjoy the sea breeze and a nice fish platter.

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