The Virgin of Guadalupe — By Lydian Shipp
Mexico North America Trips

The Virgin of Guadalupe — By Lydian Shipp

Christianity in Mexico preoccupies itself primarily with things pertaining to the Virgin of Guadalupe, though the Cristo Rey statue in Guanajuato demonstrates that at it’s core, it’s still the same religion that was brought here by the Spanish.

(NOTE: This post was written when I was 13. I edited it in 2017 for grammatical errors and other technical stuff, but maintained the content to preserve my 13-year-old perspective)

The Virgin of Guadalupe:

The Virgin of Guadalupe is a figure that is very prominent in Mexican history. She was revered for many years by the Aztecs as the mother goddess known as Tonantzin, and then in 1531, she became synchronized with the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The Legend of the Virgin of Guadalupe:

On the morning of December 9th 1531, a newly converted peasant known as Juan Diego saw the apparition of a young girl on Tepeyac Hill, near Mexico City. She spoke to him in the native Aztec language, Nahuatl, and requested that a church be built on the spot in her honor. Recognizing the girl as the Virgin Mary, he hurried back to Mexico City to inform Fray Juan de Zumarraga (the Spanish Archbishop) of the miracle. Not believing Juan Diego, the Spanish Archbishop asked him to ask the Lady for a sign of her identity. Three signs followed. The first sign was the quick healing of Juan Diego’s uncle. On December 12th, the Virgin told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill. There, he found that on the previously cactus covered hill, there were non-native Castilian roses growing. He gathered the roses from the hilltop in his peasant’s tilma cloak, and took them before the Spanish Archbishop. When he opened his cloak, the flowers spilled out, and painted on the cloak was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The Cloak Itself:

There have been many miracles associated with the tilma cloak imprinted with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. First, is the fact that the cloak has maintained its structure and color for over 500 years. A replica of the cloak was made a while ago, and it began deteriorating after only 50 years. The second miracle happened in 1791 when the cloak suffered a major ammonia spill. It had appeared to repair itself quickly without any outside help. In 1921, the third miracle occurred when a bomb destroyed an altar where the image had been placed, but it did no harm to the image itself.

The tilma cloak is currently housed at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

The Catholic Church:

The Catholic Church has stated that there is a lesson to be learned from the miracle of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The Virgin of Guadalupe appeared as a woman with a mix of European and Aztec features, and she spoke in the native Aztec language. This teaches us that spirituality and religion extends beyond culture, and race.

Holidays:

There is one holiday associated with the Virgin of Guadalupe. This 3 day celebration starts on December 9th, and ends on December 12th. Catholics from all over the world pay pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe to See Juan Diego’s cloak with the image of the Virgin. Kids will often dress up in clothing from that time period.
This is not an official federal holiday in Mexico, but it’s still a widely known religious celebration.

Origins in Aztec Myths:

The Virgin of Guadalupe is thought to have been synchronized with the Aztec goddess, Tonantzin. In fact, some people in rural areas of Mexico still refer to the Virgin as this goddess. The thought that the Virgin of Guadalupe is a synchronization of the goddess Tonantzin originated from the fact that before the Spanish conquered the area, offerings were made to the goddess on Tepeyac Hill. Tonantzin also possesses similarities to the Virgin Mary. For instance, both figures are worshiped as mothers of the people. They also are both associated with childbirth and fertility. Tonantzin possesses some slightly different qualities still, though, like being the goddess associated with the moon. The Aztecs also believed that she decided how long each person’s life was.

Related Posts:

The Legend of La Llorona – By Lydian Shipp

The Island of the Dolls — By Lydian Shipp

Santa Muerte: Saint Death — By Lydian Shipp

Calaveras de Azucar: Sugar Skulls and the Day of the Dead — By Lydian Shipp  

Cempasuchil: Marigolds and the Day of the Dead — By Lydian Shipp

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)- Part I — By Jennifer Shipp

Haunted Guanajuato: The House of the Witches and the Public Cemetery — By Jennifer Shipp

Haunted Guanajuato: Casa De Las Brujas in Guanajuato, Mexico — By Lydian Shipp
Resources:
N.A. (2013) Our Lady of Guadalupe. Retrieved 11/16/2013 from: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=456

Wikipedia (2013) Our Lady of Guadalupe. Retrieved 11/15/2013 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe

N.A. (2013) Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico. Retrieved 11/16/2013 from: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/mexico/day-of-virgin-guadalupe

Sesma, Griselda (2009) A Short History of Tonantzin, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Retrieved 11/16/2013 from: http://westgatehouse.com/art261.html

N.A. (2011) Tonantzin/Our Lady of Guadalupe December 12th. Retrieved 11/18/2013 from: http://reclaimingthedarkgoddess.blogspot.mx/2011/12/tonantzinour-lady-of-guadalupe-december.html

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