December 6

Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción, El Viejo, Chinandega, Nicaragua

Tradition holds that a brother of St. Teresa of Avila brought the statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception from Spain to Nicaragua in the 1500s. Several days before December 8, the Catholic Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Nicaraguans begin honoring their patron saint. In the plaza outside the church in the town of El Viejo ("The Old"), people gather on December 6 to polish the silver ex voto objects given over the years in thanks to Our Lady for answered prayers. On December 7, the gritería takes place. Families make splendid altars in their homes which can be seen from outside. People admiring them shout, "¿Quién es la causa de nuestra alegría?" (Who is the cause of our happiness?). Residents of the house answer, "La Concepción de María!" then offer sweets and traditional dishes to the visitors. (Picture from "María de Nicaragua visitó a sus hijos en el exilio," www.vozcatolica.org/55/visito.htm. Information from www.catholicmedia.net/halo/esp/viejo.htm.)   

Also commemorated this date:

Notre Dame des Neiges, Alpe d'Huez, Isère, Rhône-Alpes, France (Our Lady of the Snows). Church consecrated, 1969.
Nostra Signora della Neve, Acqui Terme, Alessandria, Piedmont, Italy (Our Lady of the Snows). Sanctuary consecrated, 1766. Feast August 5.
Beata Vergine delle Grazie, Verona, Veneto, Italy, in monastery church of Santa Maria della Scala (built by the della Scala family), consecrated Dec. 6, 1329
Immaculate Conception, Basseterre, St. Kitts. New church consecrated, 1928.
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly