December 8 is the Festa dell’Immacolata or the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated throughout Italy. One of the most breathtaking churches in all of Sicily is the baroque church, Chiesa dell’Immacolata Concezione (The Church of the Immaculate Conception) in Palermo, where this photo of me was taken earlier this year. Above the altar is the painting “Immacolata Concezione” from 1637-1640 by Pietro Novelli il Monrealese.
The feast recognizes that the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, was conceived without original sin — something with which, in Catholic dogma, every person is considered to have been born. Towns throughout Sicily celebrate this feast with processions or gatherings celebrating the Virgin Mary.