The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico.
The apparition of a dark-skinned Virgin above Guadalupe on December 12th, 1531 changed the course of history in Mexico; within seven years six million Indians had converted to the Catholic faith.
She first appeared before Juan Diego, a baptized Aztec Indian, and left an imprint of her image on his cloak as a sign for the Bishop. The cloak is still there, miraculously unchanged after hundreds of years. But the shrine built by the bishop on the site of the vision has undergone many changes over the years, and is now a large basilica with a conveyer belt to convey the thousands of visitors and pilgrims past the original cloak in a timely manner.On the week leading up to her saint day, December 12, hundreds of processions and pilgrimages take place throughout Mexico.
On December 11th, 2019 we were travelling by bus to Marquelia, and ran into many processions down the highway, all pilgrimages in honour of the Virgin.
The robe of the Virgin is tied with a special sash that indicates that she is pregnant, and few days after her Saint Day, the nine days of the Posadas begin, with children travelling from house to house singing a traditional song begging for a room for Joseph, Mary and their about-to-be-born son.More about travelling in Mexico.