Next Feast of Our Lady of GuadalupeTuesday, 12 December 2023
The Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe is commemorated on December 12 by Mexican American and Latinx communities in the United States. It is a Catholic holiday in honor of the Virgin Mary, who is the patron saint of Mexico. She is one of the most important religious devotions for the Mexican people, a national symbol of the country, as well as the Patroness for the Americas.
This is a very popular religious feast with Americans of Mexican heritage, especially in the Southwestern states of America.
The Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe is not a public holiday in the United States, and as such businesses and schools remain open.
The Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe celebrates the apparition of the Virgin Mary to a Mexican man on December 9, 1531.
The story goes that during a very cold winter, a man named Juan Diego was on his way to morning mass when he heard a woman calling him. Curious to see who was calling his name he climbed the Tepeyac Hill (now present in Mexico City) and found a woman that appeared to be an Aztec Indian (Native American) like himself. She told him she was the Virgin Mary. The apparition asked him to tell the Bishop of Mexico City named Juan de Zumarraga to build a church on Tepeyac Hill to help convert Mexicans to Catholicism.
The Bishop did not believe Juan Diego when he told him about the apparition and asked him for some proof from the woman that she was the Virgin Mary. When Juan returned to the Virgin Mary, on the morning of December 12, with this request, she made roses spring from the snow and arranged them in Juan's cloak with her hands.
After that, he went to the Bishop to show him this proof. When he opened his 'Tilma' or cloak, an image of Our Lady imprinted on his cloak was revealed. This converted the Priest's opinion, and construction for a new Church was immediately started on the spot on the hill where Juan had seen the Virgin Mary.
The Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe in the United States
For Mexicans and Mexican-Americans the Virgin Mary, or Virgin of Guadalupe, is a strong symbol of their identity and devotion. She is an inspiration not only for faithful Catholics but for artists and activists alike. This is why Mexican and Latinx communities in the United States celebrate this Catholic Feast with fervor and colorful processions.
From larger cities such as Los Angeles to smaller towns like Mason City, Mexican Americans proudly display one of the most important symbols of their heritage and culture. Even to those who are not necessarily Catholics, the Lady of Guadalupe signifies a strong bond with their identity and acts as a kind of talisman.
How to Celebrate the Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe
On this day, across the United States, there are colorful parades and processions in honor of the Virgin Mary. People carry flowers and banners with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, as well as American and Mexican flags.
Parishes with a large Mexican American congregation celebrate special Masses and prayers to commemorate this feast day. After Mass, people and families gather together to share a meal, on tables decorated with pink, blue, green, and red flowers.