Tomorrow is the Second Sunday of Advent. Monday is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Holy Day of Obligation in the US and most of the Americas. It celebrates the dogma that Mary was preserved by God from having the stain of original sin, from the very moment of her conception by her parents. She thus became the New Eve, out of whose body would come Jesus, the New Adam.
Legend has it that her parents, Anna and Joachim, were devout, old, and childless until angels were sent to tell them that they would be given a child. (Obviously we are to remember Abraham and Sarah having Isaac, as well as Zechariah and Elizabeth having St. John the Baptist.)
In Colombia, the night of December 7th is the Día de las Velitas, the Day of Little Candles. It’s a foretaste of Christmas. People stay awake all night praying, with little candles or paper candelaria lanterns outside the house. There are also traditional games and activities. In the cities, there are extended hours for museums and other places one can go with one’s family.
There’s a Colombian restaurant in my town that is having a special Las Velitas celebration tomorrow night, with Colombian music and a dinner with traditional holiday desserts. (I didn’t realize we had a Colombian restaurant at all. Looks like good hearty food.)