Virgin Mary Day of Guadeloupe in Mexico (12/12)

On December 12, pilgrims from all over Mexico gather at the gates of the country's religious center — Basilica of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, located in the northern part of the capital of Mexico City. People pray to the Virgin of Guadeloupe ( which Mexicans respectfully call « Our Senor Guadeloupe » — « Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe » ). After the mass, festivities begin. How without them? Mexicans — are one of the most avid fiestists in the world...

This day began to be considered a national holiday since 1859. The holiday symbolizes the strengthening of the Catholic faith in the lands of Mexico. The Spaniards brought faith, who at first tried to force the alien Indians to show a single god. The struggle of religions continued until one of the Indians — Juan Diego — was Virgo Guadeloupe. From this day on, Mexico's religious history has changed.

On December 12, 1531, a young Indian Juan Diego kept his way to the Tepeyak hill, when suddenly a bright light lit up the sky above him, and the Virgin Mary appeared before him. He later described her as a « young girl with black hair and dark skin, who was more like a girl from the Indian tribe than a white one ». She ordered him to go to the priest and ask him to build a church on Tepeyak Hill ... But the priest did not believe the words of the Indian and did not fulfill his request.

A few days later, Virgin Mary again appeared to Juan Diego and told him to collect a bouquet of flowers from the top of the hill. And since there was winter in the yard, and there were no flowers, the young man was surprised, but still climbed the hill. What was his surprise when he discovered a whole field of beautiful flowers there! Juan Diego scored an armful of flowers and again went to the priest. When he unfolded his cloak in front of the clergyman, into which the flowers wrapped, the image of the Virgin Mary appeared before the eyes of both, miraculously manifested on the fabric of the cloak. Then, finally, the priest believed the words of the young Indian and set about building the Basilica in honor of the Virgin Guadeloupe…

Today, thousands of people come to Mexico City just to visit the place where the Virgin of Guadeloupe once appeared to the surrounding inhabitants. Now December 12th — is the day of festivals of traditional Mexican music and dance. Pilgrims walk through the city with bouquets of flowers in their hands ( symbolic gifts for the Virgin Mary ). Some of them, especially devout, make their way along the stone road to the Basilica on their knees, praying for the miracle to be accomplished or offering thanks to the Virgin Mary of Guadeloupe.

At the end of the church service, it is time to cover the festive tables, place trays with souvenirs, arrange street performances with music and dancing. All this happens on the main square of Mexico City. In some parts of the city, altars are built from flowers in honor of the Virgin of Guadeloupe. On this holiday there is a place even for such dangerous fun as rodeo and bullfights.