Is Immaculate Conception a Holy Day of Obligation?

The Patronal Feast Day of the United States and Other Countries

Immaculate Conception
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In the United States and other countries, the bishops have received permission from the Vatican to abrogate (temporarily waive) the requirement for Catholics to attend Mass on certain Holy Days of Obligation when those Holy Days fall on either Saturday or Monday.

Because of this, some Catholics have become confused about whether certain Holy Days are, in fact, Holy Days of Obligation. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is one such holy day that causes confusion.

What Is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception?

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the patronal feast of Argentina, Brazil, Korea, Nicaragua, Paraguay, the Philippines, Spain, Uruguay, and the United States, is a Holy Day of Obligation. This feast honors Mary, the Mother of God, and celebrates the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. The Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of Saint Anne.

The Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8. An important date in salvation history, this holiday is never abrogated even when December 8 falls on a Saturday or a Monday.

However, if December 8 falls on a Sunday (as in, for instance, 2019), the celebration of the Immaculate Conception is transferred to Monday, December 9. This is because Sundays in Advent take precedence over any other feast. When the celebration is transferred, rather than naturally falling on a Monday, the obligation to attend Mass does not transfer with it.


This Holy Day is usually celebrated with parades, fireworks, processions, cultural dancing, and a feast. It is declared a public working holiday in many Catholic countries, including Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Chile, Colombia, East Timor, Guam, Italy, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaca, Portugal, Seychelles, the Philippines and more. In Panama, December 8 is also Mother's Day, so the date is doubly celebrated.

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ThoughtCo. "Is Immaculate Conception a Holy Day of Obligation?" Learn Religions, Aug. 26, 2020, ThoughtCo. (2020, August 26). Is Immaculate Conception a Holy Day of Obligation? Retrieved from ThoughtCo. "Is Immaculate Conception a Holy Day of Obligation?" Learn Religions. (accessed April 1, 2023).