Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fiesta of

December 12
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico, and on December 12 thousands of pilgrims flock to her shrine at the famous Church of Guadalupe outside Mexico City. On the evening of December 11 crowds have already gathered for mariachi-led singing and special ceremonies at midnight, which are carried on national television.
This great religious festival commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac hill just north of present-day Mexico City. According to legend, she identified herself to an Indian convert named Juan Diego in the early morning of December 9, 1531, and told him to tell the bishop to build her a shrine there. When the bishop refused to believe the story, the Virgin filled Diego's homespun blanket with Castillian roses, which did not normally grow in Mexico, as proof of his vision. When Juan opened the blanket to show the bishop the roses, they had vanished. In their place was an image of Mary on the blanket. It soon adorned the newly built shrine and has hung there for four centuries without any apparent deterioration or fading of colors.
The story of Juan Diego and the Virgin is reenacted in a puppet show each year, and relics of Our Lady of Guadalupe are sold in the streets. It is said that only the French shrine at Lourdes and the one at Fátima attract as many pilgrims ( see Our Lady of Fátima Day and Our Lady of Lourdes, Feast of).
She is the patron saint of Peruvian students, and of all of Central and South America. In El Salvador, it is called Día del Indio ("Day of the Indian").
In 1990, Pope John Paul II beatified Juan Diego, a necessary step on the way to sainthood.
Mexico Tourism Board
21 E. 63rd St., Fl. 3
New York, NY 10021
800-446-3942 or 212-821-0314; fax: 212-821-0367
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Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.