Guadalupe day, December 12, is Mexico’s most important religious holiday. On this day people from all over Mexico travel to the chapel Tepayac Hill in Mexico City, where the mother of Jesus is said to have appeared before an Indian peasant named Juan Diego back in 1531. Mary told Juan to go to the bishop and ask that a church be built on the hill so she could be close to her people. The bishop, needing proof of this vision, asked Juan to have a miracle performed by Mary. Juan returned to Tepayac Hill and found roses growing where there had only been cacti. Juan wrapped the roses in his tilma (cape) along with a picture of Mary to show the bishop. He was convinced and the chapel was built.
Huge fiestas are held all over Mexico and Central America to honor the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Throughout the day, people come to the church to pray. Many of them pin milagros (which means miracles) near the statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe. These small silver or tin objects are shaped like hearts, arms, or legs, and symbolize the giver’s thanks for a cure.
Today, the icon is displayed in the nearby Basilica of Guadalupe, now one of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world. The Virgin of Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image, with the titles “Queen of Mexico”,”Empress of the Americas and “Patroness of the Americas”; both Miguel Hidalgo (in the Mexican War of Independence) and Emiliano Zapata (during the Mexican Revolution) carried flags bearing the Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Guadalupe Victoria, the first Mexican president changed his name in honor of the icon.
Nuestra virgencita also embodies the mestizaje of Mexicans because she also is known to represent the indigenous goddess Coatlicue as emobodied by Guadalupe. The names even sound alike. Yet, that is a much longer and complicated story that we’ll let you google for yourself.
Obviously, Pinxe cards has a card dedicated just to our lovely virgencita, so check it out and buy some to send out to your loved ones. In the meantime, here are some of our favorite songs dedicated to our virgencita.