December is filled with some of the most religious and culturally rich Mexican holidays. Among them is Day of Our Lady Guadalupe, which is celebrated on December 12. The holiday celebrates the apparition of the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Guadalupe) to a Mexican boy named Juan Diego in 1531.
Speaking in Nahuatl, the boy’s native language, the Virgin told Juan Diego to go to the bishop and ask him to build a church on the hill so she could be close to her people. The bishop, at first skeptic, asked Juan Diego for a proof of this apparition. Juan Diego returned to Tepayac Hill and found roses growing where there had only been barren land. He wrapped the roses in his cloak, and when he arrived to the bishop and showed him the roses, they discovered that the picture of Mary was imprinted in the cloak. The bishop was convinced and the chapel was built. The cloak with the image is now displayed within the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Tepeyac hill in Mexico City.
To honor the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, each year on December 12th people from all around the country travel to the basílica dressed up in their native wear to pray. The celebration begins at midnight, when faithful believers gather around her image to sing her the traditional mañanitas (happy birthday song). Many of them pin small tin objects, known as milgaritos, near the statue of the Lady of Guadalupe, as symbols of the giver’s thanks.
Although Basílica de Guadalupe is the central place where the rituals and celebrations take place, there are fiestas all over the country in honor of Our Lady de Guadalupe. All these different manifestations are just a humble way for the people to show their love and respect to the one they consider their mother, Virgen de Guadalupe.
At Capella Pedregal we love to honor and celebrate Mexican holidays and traditions. From organizing visits to the churches or hosting events on property, we are always looking to immerse ourselves in the Mexican cultural experience. And, for those looking to partake in the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe events, AlmArte Boutique offers a lovely selection of items, including milagritos, used in the celebrations and traditions.
Photo credit: Jill Logan