Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe which is also known as the Our Lady of Guadalupe Day is annually celebrated on December 12th in Mexico. 

This day marks the appearance of Virgin Mary to a young indigenous Mexican man on December 12th, 1531. It is declared as the national holiday in Mexico. Though this holiday is listed as a national holiday and is a holiday for banks, for most companies it is a working day. Many companies may organise masses and meals for their employees. 

On this day, people from all parts of Mexico make their way to Mexico’s religious center at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, located in Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo.  

Event Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Date December 12, 2022
Day Monday
Significance The day marks the appearance of Virgin Mary to a young indigenous Mexican man on December 12th
Observed by World wide

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Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe History: 

The story behind this celebration demonstrates how the Catholic faith gained importance in the hearts of the Mexican people. It is a story of miracles and faith that marks an important change in the history of Mexico. The Spaniards, after they conquered Mexico, had in mind the goal of converting the indigenous indians into catholicism. But the spaniards encountered many difficulties because the Mexican people had existing strong beliefs in their many gods. It wasn’t until the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Juan Diego that this trend started to change in Mexico and played a huge role in changing the history of the country. 

It all starts with Juan Diego, a young indigenous Indian who was once walking toward the Hill of Tepeyac on December 12th, 1531 when he was stopped by the appearance of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego as described by him was a young woman with black hair and dark skin which looked more like an indigenous person. She ordered Juan Diego to go to the Bishop and ask him to build a church at the Hill of Tepeyac. Juan Diego then ran to the Bishop to tell him what the Virgin Mary had told him. The Bishop didn’t believe what this young man was telling him and decided to ignore the petition at first. 

Then Virgin Mary appeared again in front of Juan Diego and told him to collect flowers from the top of the hill, but because it was December Juan Diego knew that there was not going to be any flowers at the rocky hill. Upon reaching the top of the hill, Juan Diego was surprised to see that it was covered with colorful and beautiful flowers. Juan Diego, as he was asked to, collected the flowers using his overcoat and ran again to see the Bishop. Juan Diego gave the coat full of flowers to the bishop, and here the bishop discovered the image of Virgin Mary’s picture was miraculously traced on the coat.

Seeing both the unseasonal flowers and the image of the Virgin, the Bishop realized Juan Diego had told him the truth. The Bishop then commanded that the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe to be built on the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City as ordered by the Virgin Mary. Later, the pilgrimages to the Basilica of Guadalupe began with the appearances, though historical records only record the first celebration of the Virgin in 1667, some 136 years after the last appearance supposedly occurred. In that year, December 12th was instituted in Mexico as the day in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe through a papal bull from Clement IX. 

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Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe Significance: 

Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is an important day in Mexican history. It is often remembered as an event when indigenous people started believing in Catholicism and thus it eventually led to Mexico becoming a Catholic country. Thus this holiday is a major religious festival in the country. You can understand the religious significance by knowing the fact that the basilica at Tepeyac is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, and the world’s third most-visited sacred site. It is not a federal public holiday Mexico, but it is a religious festival, so many streets, roads, and transport providers are busy on December 12. It is an optional holiday for some workers and a holiday for banks and other financial sector organizations.   

Juan Diego’s tilma has become Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural symbol, and has received widespread ecclesiastical and popular veneration. In the 19th century it became the rallying cry of the Spaniards born in America, in what they denominated ‘New Spain’. They said they considered the apparitions as legitimizing their own indigenous Mexican origin. They infused it with an almost messianic sense of mission and identity, thereby also justifying their armed rebellion against Spain. Religious imagery of Our Lady of Guadalupe appears in Roman Catholic parishes, especially those with Latin American heritage.  

Throughout the Mexican national history of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Guadalupan name and image have been unifying national symbols; the first President of Mexico (1824–1829) changed his name from José Miguel Ramón Adaucto Fernández y Félix to Guadalupe Victoria in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Father Miguel Hidalgo, in the Mexican War of Independence (1810), and Emiliano Zapata, in the Mexican Revolution (1910), led their respective armed forces with Guadalupan flags emblazoned with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Over the years, Our Lady of Guadalupe has come out as a religious and cultural symbol of Mexico and still remains today. 

Guadalupe continues to be a mixture of the cultures which blended to form Mexico, both racially and religiously, “the first mestiza”, or “the first Mexican”, “bringing together people of distinct cultural heritages, while at the same time affirming their distinctness.” Hence this is also a great day to celebrate Mexican culture. People use this day to learn more about Mexican people beliefs, food, and more. The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated with feasts and parades. This makes it a great day to get together and have fun. That’s why it is Day fully dedicated to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage and thus it is an awesome experience which you can’t miss from having! 

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Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe Celebrations: 

On this day people from all parts of Mexico make their way to Mexico’s chief religious center at the Basilica of the Virgen of Guadalupe, located in Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo, a northern neighbourhood of Mexico City. There, they will celebrate the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe) with a mass ceremony and a traditional fair in her honor. Mary also became the patron saint of Mexico in 1746 and the Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe became a national holiday in 1859. 

Today, tens of thousands of people travel to Mexico City to visit the place where the Virgin appeared to the Mexican People. The holiday is a national fiesta that includes traditional music and fun attractions. Pilgrims bring presents to the virgin, usually bouquets of flowers while other visitors will perform dances and song for her. Some pilgirms walk on their knees on the stone street leading to the Basilica, asking for miracles or giving thanks to the virgin for a petition granted. 

At the plaza the fiesta starts after the mass ceremony with delicious food, vendors selling crafts and clothes, along with many performences of music and dance. In other parts of Mexico, similar festivities are organized with some unique variations of the celebration. In some places, altars of flowers are built in her honor. Other parts have traditional food prepared like buñuelos, raspados and tortas as well as activities like parades, rodeos, and bullfights.

Most Searched FAQs on Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe: 

1. When is Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe celebrated? 

Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is annually celebrated on December 12th in Mexico. 

2. What does Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe commemorates? 

Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe marks an appearance of the Virgin Mary to a young indigenous man on December 12th, 1531. 

3. How is Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe celebrated? 

In Mexico, celebrations occur all across the country. At churches everywhere, thousands attend Mass, and children wear blessed traditional costumes. Then, the pilgrims descend upon the basilica to see the image of Mary, which many believe to be authentic.

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