Immaculate Conception is considered a day of holy obligation by many Austrians. The devout attend mass, and attendance is considered “mandatory” according to church dogma. This holiday, which is observed every 8 December, is meant to celebrate the sin-free conception of the Holy Virgin, according to Catholic teaching.
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It is thought that Mary’s mother, Anne, had been childless but that an angel appeared to her and told her she would have a daughter whom “all the world would honour”. Anne is believed to have then dedicated her child to the service of God.
Immaculate Conception has been celebrated in some fashion since the A.D. 700s, but it was only in 1854 that it was declared an official church holiday and a day of obligation.