There’s no denying that Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image… And, “La Morenita,” as she called, has become one of the most popular icons of the Virgin Mary throughout Latin America and the world.
On Monday, December 12, hundreds of thousands gathered at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City— one of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world—to observe the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an annual celebration that dates back to the 16th century.
This year’s observance—which included a special performance of “Las Mañanitas” to the Empress of Latin America by superstars like Lucero, Aracely Arámbula, Pedro Fernández and Gabriela Spanic—commemorated the 480th anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s apparitions in Mexico, on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, on December 9, 1531.
According to Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to a poor 57-year-old recently converted Aztec Indian named Juan Diego and asked him to build a church on the spot where they were standing. He told the local bishop, who asked for proof. When he returned to the hill, Mary gave Juan Diego the requested sign. Miraculously, roses appeared on the hill in the middle of winter, and Juan gathered them in his tilma.
Mary arranged the roses in his tilma with her own hands, and Juan returned to the bishop. When he released the tilma, the flowers fell to the floor and an imprint of the Virgin Mary appeared on the tilma from the residue of the soil and roses.
Along with “Las Mañanitas,” Monday’s celebration included a performance of “Amor eterno” and special prayer readings.