Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kids dress up for Virgin of Guadalupe

Dec. 12 is the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and the Sanctuary named for her in Guadalajara is the site of a festival every year. The children don native dress to honor Juan Diego, the Nahuatl to whom Mary, the mother of God, appeared in 1531. The dark-skinned Virgin told him in his native tongue that a church should be built on the site, which is near Mexico City. In order to help Juan Diego convince a reluctant bishop, she made her image appear on his tunic, considered a miracle.

Thousands of people come to this sanctuary all day long to hear mass and to leave flowers at the shrine of the Virgin. The streets are lined with vendors, and there are carnival rides in the square outside the church.
We came in the morning, and there was a steady flow of people into the church. We were told that in the afternoon and evening, even more people come and all the streets around the church are blocked off.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is known locally as the Virgen Morena, or dark-skinned virgin, and is associated with the Aztec Goddess Tonantzin. Mixing of cultures and traditions is common in Mexico. It´s only confusing if you try to find a logical explanation. Ideas merge and morph according to the times and the needs of the people who invent them.

If you want to see what professional photographers can do with a photo opportunity like this, check out the work in Publico and Informador. Informador has some great shots inside the church.

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