Monday, December 12, 2011

Our Lady of Guadalupe

The story of Guadalupe began in 1531 in Mexico City, where the Virgin Mary appeared four times to the Indian peasant Juan Diego. Mary told Juan to go to the bishop and ask that a church be built on the hill so she could be close to her people. The bishop doubted and asked Juan for proof. He asked Juan to have a miracle be performed by Mary. Juan returned to the hill and found roses growing where there had only been cactus. Juan wrapped the roses in his cape along with a picture of Mary to show the bishop. The bishop was convinced and the chapel was built in her honor.

Before the Christmas season officially begins on December 16, day when the first Posada takes place, Mexicans join together for festivities of La Virgen de Guadalupe known also as Our Lady of Guadalupe, on December 12. This is one of the most important dates in the Mexican calendar.

On this date, thousands that are faithful to Our Lady of Guadalupe, from all over the country make the most important pilgrimage. As a little girl I remember my relatives going to Mexico to celebrate, many make the trip in bicycle, or walking to the destination where the Virgin Mary is kept. Years ago I can remember my aunt taking the hike and arriving in her needs for sacrifice and sign of devotion and gratitude for a favor received. Many also pin milagros which means miracles near the statue. The small objects are shaped like hearts, arms, or legs, and symbolize the giver's thanks to cure.

This practically takes place everywhere where there is an altar to the Virgin Mary, a special celebration is held on her day. Usually in the past I would get up at the break of dawn to go to church and pray, you would bring your beautiful flowers and candles to put at the altar. Not just me though, by the early hours of the morning, in every niche and cranny of the country, the burst of fire crackers are heard.

In my family we celebrate La Virgen de Guadalupe by having a rosary on behalf of her and have a cookout. As for the kids they are dressed in Juan Diego's outfit. They always look so cute. Now that's fashion ; )

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