Celebrating Day of the Virgen Guadalupe
To celebrate the Day of the Virgen Guadalupe is to celebrate the passion of a people proud of their patria. Despite its religious roots, the traditional festivities at the center of the holiday also reflect the fervor of the Mexican people.
The origin of the Mexican national holiday documents a series of holy apparitions by the Virgen herself, who appeared before a humble indigenous man dubbed San Juan Diego. The Virgen appeared on the hill of Tepeyac and made a messenger of San Juan Diego; She had chosen the location of where her temple would forever reside. San Juan Diego immediately carried the message to the town Bishop, who promptly requested tangible proof of the miracle San Juan Diego claimed to witness.
After being sent away by the Bishop, the Virgen Guadalupe returned to San Juan Diego and instructed him to climb to the top of the hill where the land was infertile. Upon arrival at the top, San Juan Diego was stunned to see a meadow of beautiful wildflowers growing where nothing else would. He collected these signs of life as proof of our Lady of Guadalupe’s miraculous appearance and carted them off to the Bishop. Upon arrival, San Juan Diego opened his mantle of flowers to reveal her holy image to the Bishop and so the construction of Basilica of the Virgen of Guadalupe, located in Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo, a northern neighbourhood of Mexico City began.
Since then, tens of thousands of people travel to the Basilica to attend a holy mass and partake in the festivities. Famous singers sing “Las Mañanitas” in her honor on the eve of December 12th and at midnight, a holy mass in her honor takes place with the Mexican flag proudly displayed alongside the Virgen.
Since the Grito de Dolores was delivered to proclaim Mexico’s independence, the image of the Virgen of Guadalupe has become a symbol of strength and emancipation. La Virgen Morena is often referred to as the Queen of Mexico for her mercy for the indigenous man. December 12th was declared a national holiday in her honor to commemorate her appearance to the Mexican people.
Tens of thousands of people make the pilgrimage to the Basilica, where street vendors gather to sell their crafts and others offer gifts of gratitude to the image of the Virgen Guadalupe. Others perform traditional dances and songs for her. The most devoted followers walk the stone path to the Basilica on their knees to humbly ask for miracles or to express gratitude for granted petitions. And while the Basilica is located in Mexico City, similar celebrations are organized all throughout Mexico and even in the United States.
To celebrate our Lady of Guadalupe is to celebrate her mercy, her divinity and her gift to the Mexican people. Beyond religion, this day December 12th brings feelings of national pride and fight. To celebrate our Lady of Guadalupe is to return the love she selflessly and miraculously bestowed upon Mexico, whom now repays the debt by celebrating her (and the Mexican land) with grand gestures as only a Mexican can.