On the 12th of December, Catholics celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe to pay tribute to the day when the Blessed Mother appeared to a peasant called Juan Diego in 1531. The story goes that a “Maiden”, who Juan Diego later recognized as the Virgin Mary, came to him while he was walking near Mexico City. Flowers that Juan gathered and placed on a cloak left behind an image that came to be known as “Our Lady of Guadalupe”. The shrine of Our Lady of was built near the hill of Tepeyac where she is believed to have appeared. The site is also known as La Valle de Guadalupe, as it has several churches and related buildings.
Here are 10 interesting facts about the Virgin of Guadalupe:
- Millions of women and men in Mexico are named Guadalupe, often going by the nickname “Lupe”.
- Christopher Columbus was a devotee and named the Caribbean island of Guadalupe in her honor.
- The image has remained intact with its original vibrancy for 475 years while the natural life span of a cloak made with fiber from the agave or maguey plant is only 30 years.
- According to art studies, the depictions of the Virgin of Guadalupe’s olive skin tone is reflective of both indigenous Mexicans and has been used by advocates of indigenous rights throughout Mexico’s history.
- An Aztec goddess called Tonantzkin was worshipped on the Virgin of Guadalupe’s site before the Virgin of Guadalupe’s alleged appearance.
- The image of the Virgin of Guadalupe was printed on flags, banners and sombreros, thereby making it a symbol of armed rebellion against Spanish rule in 1810.
- The prefix “Guada” comes from the Arabic word “wadi”, which means “river valley”.
- The Castilian roses that Diego found and gathered as proof of the Virgin Mary’s visit were neither in season nor native to the region.
- The image of the Virgin of Guadalupe remains vivid today, even though scientists insist there weren’t any techniques to treat the surface when it was created.
- The surface of the image is reportedly like silk to touch.
Celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with authentic Mexican cuisine at Ramona’s restaurant!