Pope Benedict XVI, a large crane, and thousands of screaming fans.
Ok, so I’m exaggerating a little. But just a little.
December 8th is the feast day of the immaculate conception.
This is NOT the immaculate conception of Jesus (the idea that Jesus was born pure or free from sin). Rather, it celebrates the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus (because if Jesus was born free from sin then that means Mary must have been free from sin, and so on). Although this feast day has been celebrated from as early as the 5th century, it was officially inaugurated by Catholicism in 1854 with Pope Pius IX, and is still celebrated today! On this festive day of seemingly impossible birth, the Pope jumps in his Pope-mobile and parades all the way from the Vatican to La Colonna dell’Immaculata (The Column of the Immaculate Conception) in Piazza Mignanelli, right near the Spanish steps.
There a large crane (yes, you read that correctly) hoists him up to the statue of the Virgin Mary that rests on top of the column, and he replaces the dry, old wreath that currently rests on her arm with a brand, spanking new one. The crowd cheers, blessing is given, Hallelujah, OMG.
Where: Piazza Mignanelli (right near Spanish steps at Piazza di Spagna).
When: December 8th, 4pm. (But get there early if you want a good spot!)
Why: Because who can resist the Pope on a crane?