Today we are celebrating the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Reina de México, aka the patron saint of Mexico.
In Mexico, there are tons of fiestas held on December 12th to celebrate the miracle of her apparitions because roughly about 82% of the population is Roman Catholic.
As kids we’d be dressed up in traditional native clothing, and taken to mass. Unfortunately, I lost the picture I had from when I was two, posing in front of the Virgen de Guadalupe. So you’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine me as a 2 year old looking v cute in my huarachitos, zarape and sombrero.
It all started with Juan Diego, a native who was born under aztec rule who was traveling to the city. During his trip, the Virgen de Guadalupe appeared and told him she wanted a temple to be built on Tepeyac hill dedicated to her.
(A temple had been previously built on Tepeyac hill dedicated to Tonantzin, Aztec mother goddess, but it was destroyed by the Spaniards during the Conquest)
Juan Diego ran to to let fray Juan de Zumárraga know of the apparition, but the archbishop looked at him like he was crazy and asked him to let the Virgen de Guadalupe know to prove her identity so he knew it was real.
The following day, Juan Diego returned to speak to the archbishop, but he insisted he ask for a sign to prove her identity, so Juan Diego went back to Tepeyac hill and the Virgin appeared again and she agreed to prove her identity the next day.
While all this was happening, Juan Diego’s uncle was in his death bed. So that following day Juan Diego set out to find a priest who would take his uncles last words and went a different path to avoid seeing the Virgen de Guadalupe.
It didn’t work because she still appeared before him, scolded him, and told him to pick the Castilian roses that were randomly/mysteriously growing in the middle of the desert (that were also not native to Mexico) and take them to the archbishop. When Juan Diego arrived to see the archbishop, he unfolded his tilma with the roses, to reveal Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image imprinted on it and everyone was shook.
You can find Juan Diego’s tilma hung inside the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City, which was built near the Tepeyac hill where she originally appeared.
It’s a long story, I know. Pero, she’s an integral part of our culture. There’s still so much more to discuss but we’ll leave that for another day.
If you read my post on pozole rojo, you’d know that pozole is always around whenever there’s any big celebrations or birthdays, which is why we’re making it today.
I hope you learned a little today, and if you are itching to learn a little more, do some googling! It gets a little more weird. Just wait till you find out what they’ve discovered in the image imprinted on the original tilma!