Saturday, December 8, 2012
Feast of the Immaculate Conception today, Hanukkah begins tonight
For Catholics, today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, generally a Holy Day of Obligation (meaning Catholics are expected to attend Mass today -- and we still have to go tomorrow, too!).
Given the proximity of this feast to Christmas, non-Catholics instantly think that this feast must have something to do with the birth of Jesus -- and it does, but not in the way many think.
Today Catholics celebrate the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, conceived without Original Sin so that she would be the perfect vessel to bring the Savior into the world. Although the feast of the Immaculate Conception has been widely celebrated in the Catholic Church for centuries, the Immaculate Conception did not become church doctrine until proclaimed as such by Pope Pius IX in 1854.
This evening, Jews begin the celebration of Hanukkah, commemorating the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem in the year 167 B.C.E. The feast lasts for eight days.
It is traditional to give small gifts -- books or coins or candy (often coin-shaped candy) on each night of Hanukkah. And there's an awful lot of chocolate Hanukkah gelt, marked down for clearance after the holiday, that has, over the years, somehow found its way into the stockings of good little Catholic boys and girls on Christmas mornings.
December 8 is also National Brownie Day; Christmas baking season is in full swing.
John Lennon was murdered on this date in 1980. Some of the Usual Suspects proclaim today Imagine Day in commemoration.
But Usual Suspect brownielocks.com may have the most intriguing microminiholidayette suggestion for today: She says today is Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day. Let's see... how would this work? Well, you could approach some random woman shopping with her kids today in the mall. Jump in front of her, halting the family's progress, and make a show of consulting your wristwatch. Count down, "5... 4... 3... 2... 1. OK." Look relieved. Tell the woman, "I think the moment has passed." Then, just before you melt away into the crowd, look back and say, "You will be very proud of your child in the future. We certainly are."
Of course, if you try this stunt, don't come looking for anyone at The Blog of Days to bail you out....