Virgin de Guadalupe
Or Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Virgin de Guadalupe, as many English speaking people refer to, is the most dearly loved Catholic religious icon amongst Mexicans. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe as we call her in Spanish is also the most recognized social, cultural and political icon amongst Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
How it all Started
The Latino history and Culture book published by HarperCollins on 2007 tells that on December 12, 1531, (the Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company cites Saturday December 9 as the first day) the Virgin de Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, an indigenous peasant, in Mount Tepeyac near today’s Mexico City.
Guadalupe our Lady, instructed the peasant to go directly to Juan de Zumárraga the bishop of Mexico City at the time to request the building of a church in her honor.
The Virgin of Guadalupe promised to support the Mexican people in their tribulations. As you may imagine the bishop did not pay attention to Juan Diego, furthermore he asked for a sign.
She appeared a second time to Juan Diego after hearing of his rejection. She asked him to cut some roses from a nearby bush which did not bloom at that time of the year to bring to the bishop in his cloak. When Zumárraga opened the cloak which is a wrapper used by Mexican Indians, the image of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe appeared.
Today the Basilica de Guadalupe stands where the virgin asked Juan Diego to build the church in her name.
There are two churches at the top of Mount Tepeyac, the new Basilica contains the original cloak of Juan Diego that shows the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Every year on December 12th several million people visit this site in pilgrimage.
The most beautiful aspect of the Virgin de Guadalupe is that she is mestiza which is a person of mixed European and Indian ancestry. Other names that reflect her race are: La Criolla and La Morena, which means the browned skinned.
How the Virgin de Guadalupe Became a Nationalistic Figure
Mexicans refer to her as one of their own or Guadalupe Our Lady. La Virgen Ranchera, as she is also called, started to become a nationalist figure since the war of independence against Spain in 1810. The leader of the revolution, father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, marched with a banner of the virgin of Guadalupe after ringing the bell of freedom.
Today in the U.S. you can see many displays of the fervor and love to the Virgin of Guadalupe when you encounter her image plastered on mostly Mexican neighborhoods.
The virgin of Guadalupe is also a very popular figure on marches, parades and commemorative events like the anniversary of César Chávez, and Mexican Independence Day on September 16th.
Mexicans adore this virgin and use her image in a social and nationalistic way creating what is called the Guadalupanismo.
Some of the most revolutionary political figures like Pancho Villa, and César Chávez used her image in their campaigns. During labor strikes Chávez used the virgin’s image alongside the UFW -United Farm Workers of America flag.
There is no doubt that the Virgin de Guadalupe, La Guadalupana, La virgin de Tepeyac and La Pastora as she is also lovingly called, is one of the most important symbols of Hispanic religion for Mexicans, who continue to revere and use stamps, images and statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe to profess their faith.
Virgin de Guadalupe Medal and Rosary
One of the most beloved medals is the one of the Guadalupana. Many Mexicans wear gold medals depicting their favorite virgin. Medals of virgins overall are very popular amongst Latin American women and even some men who wear them in their wrists.
Lady of Guadalupe on Other Articles
I chose these pieces because they are hand made by artisans from Latin America. These are true pieces made in Mexico by Hispanics who know the trade and pass the tradition of making these pieces from one generation to another.