Why is the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe celebrated?
Juan Diego and The Virgin of Guadalupe
The story tells that Juan Diego was an indigenous believer in the Catholic faith. He lived in a place without a nearby temple and, to attend mass, he had to travel to Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco. On one occasion, it is said that Juan Diego heard a song that was not from this land. In addition, he saw a resplendent sun and, in the middle, a lady in an attitude of prayer. On other occasions, this man had three more appearances. In them, the Virgin shared with the native his desire that a temple be built in that place. Therefore, he entrusted him to communicate his aspiration to the Bishop. Juan Diego transmitted the wishes of the woman to the ecclesiastical members. However, they asked him for proof of what he said. In one of her appearances, the Virgin of Guadalupe asked Juan Diego to pick flowers and take them to the Bishop. Then, he found the most beautiful flowers that had grown in those lands. She kept what flowers she could in her mantle; an outer garment worn by men made of cotton, or ayate fiber, and the Virgen requested that he only display his mantle in front of the Bishop.
Discovery of the Mantle of the Virgin
Upon Juan Diego's request, they saw the embodied image of the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe on the mantle. Its sanctuary in Mexico City maintains the cloak's perfect condition even in these times. The fabric where the Virgin of Guadalupe can be seen is very soft, like silk, but the part where the image is not visible is still rough and rustic.
The Celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Walking to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
On the day of the celebration of the Virgin, at dawn, millions of Mexicans and pilgrims congregate with songs and offerings before the altar of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, singing that morning to the Virgin. In the homes, rosaries are prayed, and dances are performed to honor La Virgen Morena. In them, a typical meal for the festivity called "reliquia" is also offered, which is shared with friends, neighbors, relatives and dancers (popularly called matachines, who use striking clothes in their dance).
The faithful approach Cerro Tepeyac, located near present-day Mexico City. There the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, right where the Basilica is believed to be built.