Plaza de Triunfo - La Fiesta de La Virgen de La Inmaculada
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Plaza de Triunfo - La Fiesta de La Virgen de La Inmaculada
Seville
11 and 12 December
Seville's cherished patroness, the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, receives her annual dues and devotion in this popular festival.
 

The celebrations take place in the mornings of the 11 and 12 December in the Plaza de Triunfo and involve huge choirs of singers and celebrants. On the second morning the traditional 'danza de los seises' takes place, a performance of children clad in blue, white and gold who sing and dance in the cathedral on the plaza. The celebration is a calm and joyous affair, very family-friendly and not particularly raucous, but on the whole a beautiful experience. Worth checking out, and bring the kids as well!
 

For centuries the Virgin Mary has been the icon and patron of Seville. Interestingly, matters relating to her conception and birth in particular have always been the subject of close theological scrutiny (is this obsession with origins a general feature of Hispanic culture? Check out the work of Mexican writer Octavio Paz, and his notion of the chingada).


The subject lay at the heart of a major controversy between the Dominicans and the Franciscans in the early 17th century, when the latter defended the doctrine of her immaculate conception, ie. the dogma that she was born without original sin to prepare her for giving birth to the Messiah, against the skeptical Dominicans, who sought to undermine this position. In a way which may seem difficult to understand for outsiders, this fairly obscure debate fanned out from the seminaries and became a topic for heated discussions throughout the entire population of the city. Poets and singers composed verses, the most famous of which are perhaps the words of Miguel Cid, from 1615, which are still sung by the 'seises' during the celebration:

"Todo el mundo en general/ a voces, Reina escogida,/ diga que sois concebida/ sin Pecado Original"
(Loosely translated, 'Let all the world declare, o chosen queen, that you were conceived without original sin')
 
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