December 12th is a National Holiday in Mexico that commemorates “La Virgen de Guadalupe“, which basically is a rebranding of Virgin Mary created to reach a latin audience. We celebrate exactly this day because on December 12th 1531 a miracle occurred. The story goes like this:
An indian, yes we called indigenous “indians” because when Columbus reached America he thought he had arrived to India and it seems we can´t let that go, so an indian was walking by when he heard a celestial voice, he followed the sound and found this beautiful lady that called herself the mother of God and wanted him to built a temple in that exact place. Juan Diego (the indian) agreed, because years of opression + hot lady, and visited his local Bishop who of course though he was crazy. If the mother of God was going to ask for something she´ll ask to a nice white man like himself and not an indian. Long story short he tried many thing with no result, and when he was about to give up the Virgin appeared one last time. The celestial woman told him he should pick some flowers from the top of the mountain and take them to the Bishop. Juan Diego knew during the winter there are no flowers, but he was a good servant and he did as the lady asked. He climbed to the top and when he arrived he saw so many beautiful flowers which he hurried to pick in his robe, because he was just a poor indian with nothing but his old robe. He climbed down the mountain looking for the Bishop one last time. He found him and when he opened his robe there weren´t any flowers but a image of the “Virgen de Guadalupe” (or a dark skin Virgin Mary). Till this day we can visit Juan Diego´s robe with the miraculous image in “La Basílica de Guadalupe” the temple they created for her at the “Cerro del Tepeyac”.
Few weeks ago Doña Margarita invited us to her house to celebrate “La Virgen de Guadalupe”. She is from a little town in Yucatán where a mix of christian religion and mayan roots became a very important part of their culture. Every year on December 12th they make a big party to honor “La Virgen Morena”. Celebration includes praying, eating, dancing, and taking the Virgin around the neighborhood.