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Who Is the Virgin of Guadalupe, and What Makes Her Day So Special?

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Your Official Travel Guide of Things to do in Mazatlan.

Who Is the Virgin of Guadalupe, and What Makes Her Day So Special?

Sophia Boccard

virgen de guadalupe

Official Catholic accounts state that the story begins on December 9, 1531, when an indigenous peasant, Juan Diego, came across the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac Hill at the site of a former Aztec Temple. He encountered the apparition of the Virgin who tasks him with bringing a message to the Bishop to build a temple at the site of her appearance.

After meeting the Bishop and with little success, Juan Diego revisits the site and is again met with the apparition of the Virgin Mary, who suggests that he try again to convince the Bishop. After the second failed attempt, Juan Diego returns home to find his uncle, Juan Bernadino, terribly ill. After two days of tending to his uncle, he sees the Virgin for the third time, who asks, “Am I not your mother? Are you not in the crossing of my arms?” 

virgin of guadalupe

Advised a third time by the Virigin emboldened Juan Diego to ask for proof of which he was to bring the flowers he will find at the top of the Tepeyac Hill to the Bishop.  On December 12, 1531, upon bringing in the roses he found, after opening his tilma – a cloak made of cactus fiber – the roses cascaded on the floor exposing a painted image of the Virgin directly on his tilma.

virgen de guadalupe

In the image, the Virgin wears the traditional garments of an Aztec princess that included a black sash around her waist to indicate she was pregnant.

During this time, the Virgin appeared to Juan Bernadino and asked him to name the image left on the tilma to go by the name “the Perfect Virgin, Holy Mary of Guadalupe,” hence why the Virgin Mary image evolved into the Virgin of Guadalupe, yet representing the same Virgin. 

The story has continued to cause awe, and it has inspired believers to the Catholic faith and continues to be celebrated on December 12 every year. The site of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico continues to be the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, as well as the world’s third most-visited sacred site.

Several parishes in the Mazatlan area continue to have special celebrations and processions leading up to the December 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Visit any of the parishes to find out more about the events, and to join in on the celebrations!