Millions of Catholics from Mexico and around the world make a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe each year, to celebrate the most important date on their religious calendar. Our Lady of Guadalupe is also significant to Mexican history, as it marks a miraculous event that took place in 1531.
In 1531, an indigenous Mexican peasant named Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin had a vision of the Virgin Mary while on his way to Mount Tepeyac for morning mass. She asked him to build a church on the site. When Juan conveyed this message to the Bishop, he demanded a sign to confirm what had happened. The Virgin then appeared to Juan again near a flowering rose bush and told him to collect the roses and take them to the Bishop. When Juan opened his cloak in front of the Bishop, the face of the Virgin was miraculously imprinted on the fabric.
The image of the Virgin of Guadalupe not only has religious significance but also plays an important role in Mexican identity. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla used the image of the Virgin in his fight for Mexican independence, and her image was displayed on the clothing of the revolutionaries.
- In 1976, Mexican scientists concluded that the fabric was woven from ayate cactus, which should have deteriorated within 2-3 years.
- In 1977, researchers from America and Germany confirmed that the image was not made by a human hand; there were no traces of brush strokes.
- In 2001, a scientist from Peru published data suggesting that, under a microscope, the eyes of Mary revealed images of an Indian and a dark-skinned woman.
- Experts from NASA were shocked to find that the canvas had the temperature of a living person and even a pulse.
How to take part
The best way to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe is to attend church and offer prayers. Gather your loved ones around the table and read prayers dedicated to the holiday. You can also attend events related to the date and learn more about Juan Diego from public sources.
When is Our Lady of Guadalupe Day celebrated in 2023?
Our Lady of Guadalupe Day is observed on December 12 each year.