Día de Guadalupe: 12 December

This is the Basilica and esplanade

12 December is known as the Día de Guadalupe. It is the day the faithful in Mexico take to their local churches. If they can, they will head towards Mexico City to attend masses at La Basílica, or the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe, the huge church close to where the Virgin of Guadalupe was seen a total of four times by one Juan Diego, an indigenous Mexican, in 1531. The image of the virgin has been venerated in every church in this country ever since.

Juan Diego seeing the Virgin

Naturally the Virgen de Guadalupe is the Mexican version of the Virgin Mary. Her image enshrined in the Basilica has made this site the most visited Catholic site in the world, and – apparently (according to Wikipedia) -  the world’s most-visited sacred site.  

Thousands and thousands of people make the journey in buses, cars or small lorries. They carry a lighted torch running all the way, taking turns with it, but never letting it out or stopping the journey. They travel for miles and miles. Many people, on arriving close to the destination, take to their knees and literally “walk” on their knees right up to the church, in some cases, long distances.  It is extraordinary to see their dedication and faith. 

I was in Mexico City on the day before this year and took photos of some of the runners and buses on the way back to Cuernavaca. Or rather my colleague J did, since I was driving...

A bus with the faithful on board,
from a place called Venta de la Negra.
Doing the Guadalupan Run. 
And here a runner with the lighted torch held in his hand

A car with a picture of the local church on the boot

The Virgen de Guadalupe does have miraculous powers. When you want to ensure that no one throws rubbish in a particular spot all you have to do is create a shrine to her and everyone respects her!


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