BARBARA LYONS-PEREZ: The Virgin of Guadalupe celebration in Oaxaca

The Virgin of Guadalupe Celebration In Oaxaca

 Barbara Lyons Perez

She is the mother of all Mexicans, the savior and succor of the Indigenous spirit, protectress of the poor, dark, ailing and humble. She is the Dark Madonna of Indian features, just WHO Appeared After the invasion by the white-skinned Europeans. She is miraculous and comforting, the emotional support to a Conquered Nation, orphaned from Their pantheon of gods and spirits of Nature.

Today, across the country, the shrines to her are numberless. Her smile images behind glass in saloons, gleam on tin in the kitchen, hang in taxis, and are carved Into cradle-boards. They are fashioned in plaster, marble, wood, stone, clay, cake, candy, cloth, tissue-paper, beads and embroidery. Her figure Adorned the flag of Don Miguel Hidalgo, father of the Movement for Independence. Declared She was Empress of America by a Papal Bull in 1754. Pope Leo XII crowned her Queen of the Mexican people in 1895. The title Heavenly Patron of Latin America Was Given to her in 1910. And in 1945, She was crowned queen of Wisdom and of the Americas. Named Patron Saint of the Americas by Pope John Paul II, she is a beloved manifestation of the Catholic Faith.

Every city in Mexico has a church consecrated to her name. Near the place of her appearance, north of Mexico City, is the original Basilica of Guadalupe (completed in 1709 and holding, According To Tradition, the original tilma (A rectangle of muslin worn as a cape) of Juan Diego) next to the huge modern church built in 1976. There is a shrine at the very place of her apparition, and a well, decorated in talavera tiles, Holds the miraculous waters of the spring That gushed forth at her feet. At this place, and at all the churches with her name, Thousands of the Faithful gather on December 11th and 12th, to Give tribute to her, to petition for a miracle, or to Give Thanks for one Already Received.

In Oaxaca, on the eve of the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, babies and toddlers are dressed in representation of the many Indian tribes of Mexico. The procession Begins at The Cathedral on the plinth and fills the streets, Accompanied by singing and Punctuated by Firecrackers. It ends at her church on the Llano Park, for the mass of thanksgiving for her protection and grace.

On the following day, the Children Are Brought again. In the hot Mexican sun, blue-black hair gleams, deep facial shadows brilliant highlights contrast with copper on the skin of Children. Colored ribbons in the babies’ hair and strands of glass beads Glisten and shine. The Children are patient, As They wait in the long line to pass through the church, to leave Their baskets of roses or poinsettias, to light the candles and to pray. They fuss Sometimes When Their parents rearrange the capes or re-paint smudged Their mustaches. But They seem to Understand That this is an important affair, and quietly wait Their turn to revere the Holy Mother.

Costumes of all kinds Reflect the Variety of Mexican traditions. As in Other human clothing, the Female Have More Choices in finery. Usually the boys are dressed in white muslin, red belts and sandals. The brims of hats are woven palm Their turn up in the front, framing a paper image of the Virgin. This arrangement Gives them an endearing, comical look UPWARD upward slightly. The mustache drawn on with eyebrow pencil transforms the round-faced baby Into Juan Diego. On the tilma the image of Guadalupe as she did Appears On The cloth of Juan Diego, centuries ago. Some of the Youngsters carry a sack, Equipped with a forehead strap and decorated with articles like a miniature mat kitchen and instruments, for a long pilgrimage NECESSARY. They will bring offerings of flowers, the poinsettia of the season, or Guadalupe roses like the ones sent to the bishop, as proof of her apparition.

While most boys are in white, you will meet the occasional charro (Mexican cowboy) hat With his huge, flashy bandana, silver coins and down the sides of historical pant-legs. But the little girls steal the show. From the tiniest baby to the most Demure teenager, Each One Is delightful. The traditional costume is a puff-sleeved blouse embroidered, multicolored shawl Gathered skirt and a flowered. They wear brightly colored strands of beads and long braids (Often made from dark yarn, ingeniously attached to Their short hair) and carry baskets of flowers. But Especially in Oaxaca, with STI 16 official ethnic groups, the costumes are Several. You see little dog Tehuanas, Yalaltecas, Mazatec, a shawl gracefully wrapping the head, wearing blouses, Both sumptuous and austere.

Of course, it’s not all Serious. The Llano Park is Taken Over by secular pleasures as well – mechanical rides, prizes for marble-rolling, and balloons That Manage to dodge the menacing darts, for That elusive eagle authentic image of plaster or Pokeman. Oh, and the food! Children delight in the flavored ices, popsicles, cups of jelly and cotton candy, and the smells of fried little gorditas Guadalupanas, And all the Other snacks of Oaxacan cuisine fill the air.

And then, the commemorative photograph. Not as common in years Past, Nowadays the Ingenuity for photo-ops is delightful. They will pose the children on the traditional donkey, flowers and dressed up with crepe paper with the image of the virgin up on top. If sitting on a donkey is too distressing for the little one, There are peaceful grottoes, with the figure of Juan Diego kneeling Before The Blessed Mother, That Can serve as a background. The Little Women Demonstrate on a crushing corn metate (Look up at the camera and smile, my daughter) Or cooking the tortillas on the comal. (First let’s straighten up the bows, and braids to the front, please.)

Photo by Alan L. Goodin, The Jaguar

Mexicans adore Their Children. Their They are delights, Each one a gift from heaven. On December 12th, Mexicans celebrate Indigenous Their spiritual roots by Bringing Them to the Virgin of Guadalupe. She Sees All of the nation, rich and poor, exalted and humble, as her Children, and Protective Holds them in her grace.

The Appearance of Guadalupe

The story goes like this.

In 1531, Ten Years After threading the fall of the Aztec nation, a humble Indian named Juan Diego Was walking over the hills just north of Mexico City (built on the razed capital of Tenochtitlan Azctec). There Land is dry and rocky, cactus and lizards favoring only under a blistering sun. I Passed by the hill of Tepeyac raise the site of the temple to Tonantzin, the gentle goddess of earth and corn, Whose name means “Our Mother.” The Conquering Spaniards Destroyed HAD this and most of The Other sacred places of the Indigenous People, Forbidding them to pray to Protecting Their spirits. Then They Were spiritual orphans, Not yet embracing, as foster-mother, the Catholic church. They Had to hide small idols and Talismans, to worship and pray in secret.

Photo by Alan L. Goodin, The Jaguar

As I Pass This once-revered place, Juan Diego stopped and Stood Still, disbelieving the heavenly fragrance and celestial music That Surrounded the spot. Shone Before him a radiance, like a glowing cloud Surrounded by rainbows. Then the blessed Mother Mary emerged, robed in blue and gold and rose. She calms His Fears, calling him “little is,” and urging him to return to the city and request the bishop to build her a shrine to, on the very place of the fallen goddess.

Of course the bishop did Not Believe the Peasant and sent him on his way. Ashamed That I HAD failed her bidding, I AVOIDED the spot, passing the next day on the other side of the hill. But she Was Not to be denied. She found him and urged him Once Again. It Was Not Until the third time she Appeared to him, That she sent proof of this miracle. She Told Juan Diego to pick the Castillian roses, impossible to exist in climate That, But Growing in abundance on That place. I Gathered them in historical tilma a rectangle of muslin worn as a cape. She Told Him Not to put down Until them I Was In The Presence of the church Dignitary. When I did this, in the cathedral of Tlatelolco, That They saw the front of historical tilma Was emblazoned with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the miraculous blossoms lay at her feet.

The Dark Madonna Immediately Was Embraced by the Indigenous People, and Other miracles Quickly Follow, floods and pestilence in personal Overcome Which Were And The Prayers and Needs of her many believers Were Answered. The symbols of her miraculous Presence the Castillian roses are found in the desert and Juan Diego’s tilma bearing her image.

Published on December 21, 2007 by Barbara Lyons Perez © 2007 | Contact Barbara Lyons Perez

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