Being a Catholic country, Mexico celebrates many saints during the year, but December 12th is a very special day – the celebration of the patron saint of Mexico, the Virgin of Guadalupe. In my next post, I will present my slide show all about this saint, but for now I will just say that on December 12, 1531 she performed a miracle for Juan Diego, an indigenous man who lived in Tepayac.
Today is a national holiday, with schools, banks and all manner of businesses closed. There are celebrations throughout the country. In the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, the priests and congregation sang La Mañanita to the Virgin. The Mañanita is also what is sung when a person has a birthday.
and here are the English lyrics to this song:
But, today I was not in Mexico City, and so I attended the celebration here in Cofradía de Suchitlán in Colima State. We headed out of the village to the parking lot of the El Jacal restaurant. A parking lot is the best way I could describe it, but that really doesn’t do it justice. It is quite a large area with cement seats that remind me of a Roman amphitheater and across from those seats is an altar where Mass is performed. The restaurant was not even visible from this point.
As we approached the seating, a band was playing La Mañanita to the Virgin. Then we all took our seats and the Mass began. There was no kneeling, as there was no place to kneel, so we alternately stood up and sat down.
People filed down the stairs to receive Communion:
and when the Mass was over, the band played again:
I’m sure you hear the popping sound. No celebration would be complete in Mexico without fireworks or firecrackers!
When the band was finished for the moment, the Azteca dancers performed:
This clip is only 15 seconds long, as my battery was running low, but if you wish to see more, I have longer videos in previous posts.
While the Azteca dancers were performing on one end of the field, the band was playing on the other end. People were also selling food somewhere between the two. My friend Lourdes and I stopped to admire the Virgin which was in the back of a pickup truck:
and we, and other people stopped to admire the altar:
Here you can see the crowds that have gathered for the Mass and celebration:
And so here ends my story of our activities on this special day. Tomorrow will be my slide show to tell you all about the history of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Good night all, and see you again tomorrow!