On December 12, the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe or the Guadalupana is celebrated throughout Mexico. According to tradition, on December 12, 1531 a miracle occurred when the Morenita of Tepeyac,as the faithful affectionately call her, found the Chichimeca man Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.
That morning, next to the Pocito of Tepeyac Hill, Juan Diego was seeking help for his uncle who was ill. The Virgin promised Juan Diego that his uncle will recover and asked him to gather roses of Castilla from the top of Tepeyac Hill, so he could give them to Bishop Juan de Zumárraga. Rosas de Castilla were non-native to Mexico and would have been impossible to find due to the dry soil.
At noon that same day, Juan Diego unfolded his ayate blanket in front of the bishop and several roses of Castilla fell from it. Meanwhile an image of a Virgin with mestizo features appeared on the blanket, she looked very similar to the already known Virgin of Guadalupe from Spain.
At that time, the temple of Tonantzin, deity of Earth and Fertility, and his wife, was located on Tepeyac Hill (located near what was once the shore of Lake Texcoco). Creators of the Universe, these two divinities were considered parents of the rest of prehispanic gods. The temple of Tonantzin was demolished and in 1533 the Franciscans decided to replace it with the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe.
However, it was until 1667, when Pope Clemente IX officially established December 12 as the Day of Guadalupe. Since then, every year, about nine million pilgrims arrive by foot, metro, bus, car and bicycle to the Basilica of Guadalupe, the second most visited Catholic church in the world.
The festivities begin on December 11 at 6:45 p.m. with a public serenade to the Virgin, followed by various tributes that last until midnight, when famous artists perform “Las Mañanitas.” A series of masses begins in the next morning and lasts until 8 p.m. The most important mass takes place at noon and is dedicated to the Celebration and Blessing of the Roses. The Virgin of Guadalupe is one of the symbols of Mexican nationality, and the Villa of Guadalupe is an obligatory destination during a visit to Mexico City.
Article by Con Acento Latino.
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La Fiesta de la Guadalupana – Tradiciones Televisa
Official webiste of the Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe
Villa de Guadalupe. Where the magic of the faith lives.