In Argentina, the Christmas season begins on 8 December, which is a Roman Catholic feast day called Immaculate Conception Day. Sometimes, it is also called “Day of the Virgin”, in reference to the Virgin Mary.
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According to Catholic dogma, Mary was conceived without original sin and remained spotless and sinless throughout life, and this was necessary in order for her to conceive, carry, and give birth to Jesus Christ.
Many in Argentina attend special masses on 8 December and pray to the Virgin Mary and hear a message about her life and virtues. Many people will put up their Christmas trees on this day. As “real” Christmas trees are hard to come by in Argentina, most trees will be artificial. But some will have “midget” pine trees that they decorate.
The small town of Tres Cerritos in the province of Salta sees many pilgrims on Immaculate Conception. People flock in because of their belief that Mary appeared there in 1990 and that she continues to send messages there on a regular basis.