Some people call it “popular religiosity,” others call it faith and tradition. Whatever the case, the “Virgen Maria de Guadalupe,” celebrated in Mexico every December 12th, is a powerful image, literally, and a symbol of hope and love.
Ask any Mexican and many Central Americans, men or women over 40. They will know who the Virgen de Guadalupe is and how she intercedes to God for miracles, and protects us all.
You have probably seen this image. Some people carry it in their wallets, others have it prominently at home. Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most important Latin American religious figures turned into culture and tradition.
For context, here is this video:
Growing up in Mexico, I recall when I was 4 or 5 years old and going with my mother and siblings to honor our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th at dawn. The tradition was to go to church early, sometimes around 4am to sing “Las Mañanitas,” to her and participate on a pilgrimage -that early. Over the year as I grew up, every year there was something: a pilgrimage at night, a mass service at the temple, readings, and more. Everything was about celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Mexicans, Mexico and the Americas.
There is so much about the story of her appearing to Indio Juan Diego and how through this story –real or prefabricated, catholic monks were able to convert native Mexicans into catholicism.
Call it faith, miracles or religious conditioning, but, like millions of Mexicans, I honor and rever Our Lady of Guadalupe and celebrate her day, December 12th.
-Lupita Franco Peimbert