On December 8, Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This does not refer to Jesus' conception by the Virgin Mary but to the way Mary herself was conceived. In order to become the mother of the Saviour, Catholics believe Mary was made immune from sin at the moment of her conception.
This holy day is celebrated in many Catholic countries. On the eve of the feast, Guatemalan Catholics burn papier-mache figures of the Devil. This tradition, which began in colonial times, represents getting rid of sin and starting afresh.
Colombians celebrate Día de las Velitas (Day of the Little Candles) on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Believers place candles and lanterns in their windows, and keep a vigil by the graves of their loved ones.
In the western Spanish village of Jarandilla de la Vera, people celebrate the Immaculate Conception by hitting each other with burning brooms.
It is thought that the "Los Escobazos" festival comes from when shepherds came down from the mountains at night to celebrate the Virgin's Conception and would light branches in order to see.