Day of the Little Candles

dia de las velitas

Little Candles' Day (Spanish: Día de las Velitas) is one of the most observed traditional holidays in Colombia. It is celebrated on December 7, on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, which is a public holiday in Colombia. This day is the unofficial start of the Christmas season in the country.[1]

On this day, people place candles and paper lanterns on windowsills, balconies, porches, sidewalks, streets, parks and squares; in short, everywhere they can be seen, in honor of the Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception. On December 8 it is customary for houses to hoist a white flag with the image of the Virgin Mary all day.

The celebration of the Day of the Candles dates to December 8, 1854, when Pope Pius IX defined as dogma the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, published in his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus. In anticipation of this decision, people lit candles and paper lanterns to show their support and belief in this idea.

dia de las velitas

In Colombia, as in many places all over the world, this announcement was observed by lighting candles. The Catholic Church of Colombia kept alive the celebration and made an annual tradition of lighting candles the night of December 7.[2]

Some places celebrate the night of the little candles several nights before December 8, particularly in the Paisa region. This is believed to derive from a hanukkah tradition since a large number of paisas are from Jewish descent.[3] This can be affirmed with the beginning of the Novenas in which thru the 16th of December families gather and give aguinaldos, presents, to each other, similar to the Hanukkah celebration.

cysm velitas colombia



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