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Suzanne Barbezat

The Virgin of Guadalupe

By December 12, 2006

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December 12th is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint. Festivities begin as early as December first, but they really come into full swing on the morning of the twelfth. At five or six a.m. folks gather to sing "Las Mañanitas" (the Mexican birthday/serenade song) to the Virgin. They gather in the Basilica of Guadalupe and in churches, chapels and shrines all over the country.

My favorite part of the celebration takes place later in the day. Parents dress up their children in traditional peasant clothes - the little boys as little Juan Diegos and the girls as ... well, the female equivalent. They take them to the church to be blessed, and then outside the church there are stalls set up for the children to have their picture taken with an image of the Virgin. This, to me, is somewhat reminiscent of kids in the U.S. and Canada having their picture taken with Santa.

Photo © 2006 Benito Hernández Leyva

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