December 18th is the Day of the Virgen de la Soledad in many Hispanic countries.
Mexico has their patron saint, the Virgen de Guadalupe, their very own Mary who appeared as an indigenous woman. But Spain has many other Marys that have appeared over the years, and some of them have shown up in Mexico as well. The Virgen de la Soledad is particularly popular in the state of Oaxaca.
It was in Puerto Escondido that we first made our acquaintance with Virgen de Soledad. A poster announcing the festivities that take place leading up to December 18th, the day that the Virgen de Soledad was taken out of the church and carried down to the water to bless the fishing fleet.First we went to the water’s edge which was decorated with banners celebrating the Virgen. On December 18th the Virgen de Soledad was carried out of the church. The procession carrying the Virgen de la Soledad down to the boats amidst music and firecrackers.She was carried down to the boats for her annual cruise through the waters of Puerto Escondido to bless the fishing fleet.
A special day for these ladies who have dressed all in white. It turns out that the boat the Virgen would be riding on was the Angel Mar, the same boat we had been on when we had gone whale watching.
Gina, the information goddess who had arranged our whale-watching tour nudged me and said I should run done and get on the boat with the Virgin. But a few seconds later priests robed in white were helped into the boat, and I couldn’t really see myself hobnobbing with the priests. There was a lot of boats jockeying for position amidst the people in the water taking pictures and then they were off, taking the Virgin around the bay.