On December 12th, many families and communities come together to celebrate the patron saint of Mexico: La Virgen de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe).
La Virgen de Guadalupe is said to have appeared to an indigenous man named Juan Diego (the man you see in images at the feet of La Virgen de Guadalupe). She asked him to have a church built in her name in the exact location where she stood: Tepeyac Hill. However, when Juan Diego spoke to his bishop about the apparition, the bishop did not believe him. It was then on December 12th that La Virgen appeared to Juan Diego again and told him to collect roses and carry them in his cloak. When Juan Diego took these roses to the bishop, an image of La Virgen de Guadalupe appeared on his garment. La Virgen de Guadalupe then became one of Mexico’s most celebrated religious and cultural symbols.
La Virgen de Guadalupe is celebrated every year on December 12th as a symbol of hope and faith in the Catholic religion.
If there’s one thing that indicates it’s El Día de La Virgen de Guadalupe, it’s the time you wake up in the morning.
It's not december 12th if ur not up at 5 am cantando las mañanitas at church? #VirgenDeGuadalupe
— Janette O (@JRose_Co22) December 12, 2017
While some people wake up very early on the morning of December 12th to celebrate La Virgen de Guadalupe, others begin celebrating the night before.
Since it’s tradition to sing “Las Mañanitas” to La Virgen in honor of her birthday, mariachi musicians prepare to perform late at night on December 11th or early in the morning on December 12th.
— cin ? (@royal_cindy) December 12, 2017
This celebration is a very busy time for all Mariachi groups.
In addition to music, La Virgen de Guadalupe is also celebrated with large altars that are decorated with dozens of roses.
Que viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of Mexico and the Americas. Here, the altar is adorned with lots of #roses and flowers to honour her and a statue of #sanjuandiego kneeling before the image. Taken after morning mass #nuestraseñoradeguadalupe #ourladyofguadalupe #catholic #archdioceseoflosangeles #compton #mrabeinsocal #virgendeguadalupe
Some flower shops even change their hours of operation for the day of this celebration.
Some of these altars are carried throughout the streets of different pueblos, as people walk, pray, and sing in her honor. Here is one from Oaxaca, Mexico:
Fiestas en honor a Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
— Diócesis de Tuxtepec (@Dioc_Tuxtepec) December 5, 2017
A common chant you hear at these celebratory parades is “¡Que viva La Virgen de Guadalupe!”
In Mexico City, millions of people make pilgrimages to the Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, approaching the church on their knees.
CREDIT: Pedro Pardo / Getty
Although churches get overwhelmingly packed inside and out on this day…
— Amb Antonio Garza (@aogarza) December 12, 2017
In some churches, it gets so packed that there aren’t enough seats for everyone, which is why you see many people standing.
…the perks of live music and fresh pan dulce make waking up at 5am totally worth it.
— maria #DefendDACA (@gentlediplomat) December 12, 2017
This is what I loved about it as a kid.
The tradition of this celebration continues to bring families and communities together every year.
— SeamHead⚾️ (@Pandaa_9) December 10, 2017
Even those who are no longer involved with the Catholic religion, are showing their appreciation for this patron saint.
Even though I converted I will never forget how many times I prayed to you. Through the good and bad Hoy es tu día #VirgenDeGuadalupe
— jennifer (@Jennrey_) December 12, 2017
Do you celebrate el día de La Virgen de Guadalupe? Tell us about your traditions in the comments below.