December is not just about Christmas, but Catholics giving thanks to the Virgin Guadalupe


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With December being here, most people mainly think about Christmas which primarily deals with Christ. However, another important part of December for most Catholics is The Day of the Virgin Guadalupe on Dec. 12 This is the only day Catholics give honor to The Virgin Guadalupe who is always looking after and protecting them.

During Spanish rule, many temples that honored The Virgin Guadalupe were destroyed because the Spanish believed in the new doctrine and the idea of the Virgin Guadalupe did not follow those same beliefs. Those who were Catholic were punished for not changing their beliefs and many punishments led to death. 

On Dec. 12, 1531, The Virgin Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, a catholic convert, for the first and last time. As the story goes, Diego was praying to the Virgin Guadalupe and God near Mount Tepeyac for his uncle’s health. As he was walking back, he heard a voice and turned to see a green light. The Virgin Guadalupe told Diego to visit the bishop of Mexico City to build a temple for her. When Diego relayed the message, the bishop and priests laughed. When Diego told The Virgin Guadalupe what happened she instructed him to wrap red roses in his huipil, a blouse,  during winter and to deliver them to the bishop. When he does this, the roses fall on the floor and an image of The Virgin Guadalupe appears on the huipil. After witnessing this, the bishop fell to his knees and begged forgiveness as they mocked him when he originally delivered the message. On Dec.12, the bishop decided to build a temple honoring The Virgin Guadalupe at Mount Tepeyac where Diego had been praying. 

Crystal Guadalupe Morales, a senior at Abraham Lincoln High School,  is one of the students that celebrate this day. A Saint’s Day is a day that you celebrate to the day that you are given, in other words, is like your name day in a calendar. This day for Crystal means that she is giving honor to Virgin Guadalupe. 

“This day for most Mexicans is very important because it means when we honor the Virgin (Guadalupe) who appeared for the first and last time and it is also near the time when Jesus was born,” Morales said. “My middle name is Guadalupe so this is also my Saint day meaning we are really drawn to that day.” 

Many families that celebrate The Day of the Virgin Guadalupe have many different traditions, some of which are just going to church. Others do more which takes more time for them to prepare for. One of those people is Iveth Saldaña, an ALHS graduate. She has celebrated this day both in the United States and in Mexico. She celebrates this day with her family, but she prefers to be in Mexico. 

“The difference between Mexico and here is not the same at all. In Mexico, we go to the chapel and put flowers for her there. I like to celebrate in Mexico more because it is very beautiful and I am able to go to the chapel to give her flowers,” Saldaña said. “In Mexico, people gather money to be able to bring her to the band where she is at. A lot of us when we give her flowers give thanks for everything that she has done for us.” 

Celebrating The Day of the Virgin Guadalupe is more authentic in Mexico because that is where the Catholic tradition came from. While Catholics do celebrate The Day of the Virgin Guadalupe in the United States the celebration that takes place in Mexico is a lot more momentous. People from Mexico all gather together at the church and wait for the band to play las mañanitas, las mañanitas is a birthday song to honor someone who they love. After they perform the first song, people decide if they want to go home and have a feast or they can say till the band is done playing. 

While celebrating in the United States may not be as exciting it means just as much to the people that honor The Virgin Guadalupe. Crystal Morales, a senior at Abraham Lincoln High School, does an altar for the Virgin Guadalupe, her family puts lights and flowers for her. Her family goes to church on this day and the church they go to does dance for The Virgin Guadalupe and has a band that also plays las mañanitas, las mañanitas is a birthday song to honor someone who they love. 

“We celebrate this day by making tons of food and inviting people from all around that we know even if we aren’t close. We do dances and sing las mañanitas to the Virgin Guadalupe. We make an altar for her with flowers and lights,” Morales said. 

The Day of The Virgin Guadalupe is a very important holiday for Catholics. While there are many different ways Catholics celebrate the holiday, they always find time throughout the day to honor her for what she has done for them. Although this day isn’t familiar to every culture, it is one that contains aspects that can be applicable and enjoyable to many.