December 18 - Feast of Mary's Expectation (Council of Toledo, 656)

Our Lady's Expectation

The origin of this feast goes back to the bishops of the 10th Council of Toledo, in 656. These prelates believed that the traditional custom of celebrating the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin on March 25th was disadvantageous, because this joyous solemnity usually fell on a date when the Church is concerned with the sorrows of the Passion of Christ. They decreed that from that moment onwards, the Church of Spain would celebrate a solemn feast, with octave, in memory of the Annunciation, in anticipation also to the great solemnity of the Nativity. At a later date the Church of Spain felt the need to return to the practice of the Roman Catholic Church, which solemnizes on March 25th, as a forever sacred day, the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Incarnation of the Son of God. However, popular devotion was still so strong for the feast on December 18th that a vestige was retained allowing the faithful to celebrate the Mother of God in the days prior to the nativity of her Son. A new feast was established under the title of the Blessed Virgin Mary's Expectation.

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