Covid is still making its presence known, and some offices still require masks and distancing, but after 2 vaccine doses and 2 booster shots have been available, life is somewhat back to normal. December 12th is the Celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and we here in Cofradía were able to go out and have our traditional festival.
It was held for our village and several other villages in the surrounding area in a large open area owned by a local restaurant. In this area is what is called a plazuela – on one side are cement stadium-style seats across from a platform. While the festivities did not last as long as in previous years, it was still a great day.
Women and children dressed in traditional red-and-white clothing and pilgrims and traditional dancers marched into the venue from the road. Police cars protected the pilgrims and dancers from oncoming traffic. After entering, a painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe along with roses was placed at the bottom of the platform.
Of course, no celebration is complete here without firecrackers (cohetitos). Like clockwork, in anticipation of every event that needs a “bang” the vendor sets up shop on the highway at the entrance to Cofradía.
According to tradition, Mary, described in the history as a young woman with black hair and dark skin, appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec convert to Christianity on December 9th and December 12th, 1531. She requested that a shrine be built at Tepeyac Hill, where she appeared to him. He told the bishop after he had his first vision. The bishop didn’t believe him and asked for proof. Mary told Juan Diego to collect flowers at the top of the hill and bring them to the bishop wrapped in his cloak. Since it was December, it was a miracle that flowers were there. He wrapped them in his cloak and when he opened the cloak in front of the bishop, there was imprinted on the material the image of the virgin. Upon seeing this, the bishop ordered the building of the Basilica in what is now Mexico City. There is a frame that is said to contain the cloak of Juan Diego in the new Basilica in Mexico City.
Image on the cloak of Juan Diego in the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City
The traditional dancers in our area are called the Danza Azteca, and their headdresses reflect a combination of traditional clothing and Christianity – it is a headdress of feathers with a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the center.
Banner of the Aztec Dancers
And so I’ve come to the end of this post, with more to follow. I wish you all the blessings of the season for whichever holidays you celebrate. Until next time – ¡ Nos vemos !