Colombia puts a lot of emphasis on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, with a public holiday observed every year on the feast date of 8 December.
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On Immaculate Conception Eve, also called “Little Candles Day” in Colombia, businesses will generally still be open for business. But both homes and commercial buildings will be fully decked out in candles, paper lanterns, and Christmas decorations. This is the start of the Christmas season in Colombia as well as a major holiday in its own right.
On 7 December, windowsills, streets, public squares, balconies, and more light up in honour of the Holy Virgin and her “immaculate” (sinless) conception by her mother Saint Anne. On 8 December, people fly white flags with an image of Mary on them all day long and may attend fireworks displays and other special events.
In Quimbaya, Colombia, there is a huge, area-wide Candles And Lanterns Festival on both Immaculate Conception and Immaculate Conception Eve. Localities compete to see which will have the most impressive lights display. This event has been held each year since 1982.