City of Guadalupanos
By Jade Arroyo
Mexico is impossible to understand if you don’t know about the devotion of Mexicans to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Every year, millions from around the country gather on December 12 to sing happy birthday to Our Lady of Tepeyac. But the Guadalupana is more than a religious symbol; she is also a national symbol, like the flag or the national emblem—a mixture of Mexican identity. Mexican tradition dictates that on this day start the celebration known as “the Guadalupe-Reyes marathon starts.” Here is how San Miguel joins in the celebration of the morenita.
Ignacio Ramirez Market
This group of merchants celebrates the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 17, when they pick up the image of “the pilgrim Virgin” from Doña Consuelo on Zacateros 35. They carry her in a small procession to the market, where she remains all day while people sing songs and give praise. The mañanitas (birthday song) with mariachis starts at 7am. At 9pm, a mass takes place at the market’s altar. The party runs all day, with band music, pre-Hispanic dances, mariachis, and flowers everywhere.
Casa Hogar Mexiquito
This nonprofit organization, founded by actor and singer Jose Guadalupe Mojica in 1967, serves and protects orphans and children who cannot remain in their homes. It is a tradition there to celebrate the Virgin every year. Groups of pilgrims visit the Virgin from December 3 on, but the most special day is December 12, starting with the traditional mañanitas to the Virgin at 4am. Masses are celebrated at different times. In addition, there are food and treats for sale all day long. All funds collected benefit this institution.
Parroquia of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Within the community of Los Rodríguez is the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As one can imagine, there is a major celebration here. A large number of pilgrims come to make offerings for mandas (favors) that have been granted and pay their respects. The holiday begins the night of December 11 with a vigil mass at 11pm, followed by the traditional mañanitas at midnight. All night and the next day there is a party with fireworks, live music, and street food.