Thursday, December 10, 2009

Virgen de Guadalupe.

A few minutes from now, it will be December 12, the day Mexicans celebrate the miracle of the Virgin of Guadalupe (firecrakers and "cohetes",fireworks that only make a loud boom, can be heard from all parts of town).

"Many years ago, the converted indian, Juan Diego, was walking through El Cerro del Tepeyac (Tepeyac Hill) when he heard a beautiful voice singing. He saw a young girl of about 14 or 15 years old, which he immediatly identified as the Virgin Mary, beacuse she was shining all over. The Virgin told Juan Diego she wanted a temple built in her honor on top of the hill. He ran to tell the Spanish priests what he had just heard and seen. The priests did not believe him, and asked for proof. So Juan Diego went to the Cerro again, and the Virgin gave him an armful of fresh castille roses (which did not grow during that time of the year, Winter). He carried them in his tilpa (a kind of long apron indians used) all the way back to the priests. When he unwrapped the roses, the image of the Virgen was imprinted onto the tilpa....!"

December 12 is a very important day for Mexicans. It is so important, that when it falls on a weekday, there are no clases (not even in public schools), banks and government offices are also closed. Although the original site of this aparition is in Mexico City, every town and city has a special church, shrine, or sanctuary dedicated to the Virgen of Guadalupe. There are literally thousands of people who make a pligrimage to these places, being the Basilica in Mexico City the one that recieves the most.

Our town is no exception. Since there are so many groups that want to pay homage, the local church gives dates for each pilgimage. Every year, my son's school does theirs. This year it was their turn on December 3. It was good beacuse we were the only group that day. The bad part was then it was a pretty cold day for our standards, so not everybody showed up.

But it still was a very enthusiastic group, which sang and danced all the way to the Sanctuary.
I hope you enjoy the photos of this procession......

The pre-schoolers, oh how I love them.
Some were dressed as indians, and others as angels.

There is always typical dancing going around.
This year it was the turn of dances and costumes from the
state of Michoacán.

The braids done up in ribbon are fake (of course)
Not many girls use hair so long anymore.

The braids are made with black yarn....
Even if they are not real, I think they look great.

All the skirts and blouses are hand embroidered.

Some detail of the skirt's decorations.

Only the 6th graders dressed up for the procession.
The rest of the kids used their daily uniform.
Here these kids are clapping to the music.

I like this part of town with the stone street.
My son also participated in the dancing.

The pre-schoolers did not walk. They traveled on the
back of a trailer, with a young girl dressed
as La Guadalupana.

The prosession started at 5:00 p.m.
These are the girls who belong to the "escolta" and marched with the
Mexican flag.

Some more variations of the costumes.

There was a car with speakers and music at the
front of the kids, so they could dance to the music.

My husband, dean of discipline, was in charge
of the Jr. High students.

Walking down the street.....


The Sanctuary of Guadalupe.
I like this photo very much because of the cold, blue
light outside, and the warm yellow light inside.

Waiting to go in....

The priest welcoming the school.

The girls danced all the way into the church.

A beautiful little angel...

During the mass.

This is the statue in the church with the Mexican flag
as background.

This is the back part of the altar.

Same altar, another view....

The previous photos were taken on December 3, but the following ones were taken a few hours ago.

I had to go out to visit a friend. I really didn't want to go, but boy am I happy I did.
The neighborhood I went through was totally decorated with altars for the Virgin.
It was incredible. I took only a few photos, I mean the post is long enough as it is. But let me tell you there were at least 50+ altars like the ones in the photos. Almost every house had an altar.

And as I drove into my neighborhood, I saw one of my neighbors had put up her altar and they called me to join them. We prayed the rosary, and then ate some delicious Pozole.
I was very lucky to participate in this so I could show you yet another face of this celebration...

Some of the altars in the Colonia Juarez
(a neighborhhod near our house).

This is my friend Rita's altar.

Naty, Rita and Lety.

And the Pozole, of course.

I want to comment that it is not mandatory
for the children to participate in the pilgrimage.
Those who went, were there beacuse they
wanted to be there.

So hope you have a happy Virgen de Guadalupe Feast.
And have a great weekend.
Oh, and the giveaway will be posted on the 15th, the day I post about the posadas...


Anonymous said...

Oh Angie! Iam speechless! And I got goose bumps just reading your beautiful post. Thank you for all the work and thought and time you went to in order to share this celebration with all of us.

You have done an excellent job of explaining the origin of the holiday, and how it is celebrated throughout Mexico.

Muchas Gracias.

Angie said...

Pan,I'm happy you liked it. I think I was very lucky with the last part of the post. You see, we almost never go out on Guadalupe Eve, there is SO MUCH traffic, most of the city's streets are blocked, you can imagine. But I really had to go out, and it was wonderful! Ler's see how the posada posts come out....

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful post with us. I didn´t know anything about this celebration, so it was very interesting. The children are so cute with their costumes!

Anonymous said...

What a colorful celebration! I wish we had things like that here, although I'm sure there are some areas that still have celebrations of this sort on a smaller level. It must take you a loooong time to upload so many photos to your blog unless Blogger is quicker at that than Wordpress. Your husband is the Dean of Discipline, wow, that must be a tough job.

molleemac said...

Thank you for taking the time to take pictures and describe the celebrations and daily life in your city. I love reading your post every day and feel a bit closer to Mexico every day. I was raised Catholic but have fallen away from the church and its been nice to recall some of my childhood celebration around the religous holidays. Thank you for making the world a nicer and smaller place,


Angie said...

Thank you for your comment. I'm so happy you like it, and that you are learing about Mexico through me. And there's still lots more to share about this wonderful country. Glad you are along for the ride!