The actual tilma (cape-like garment woven from maguey cactus fibers) worn by San Juan Diego in December 1531. The framed tilma hangs over the main altar at the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Mexico City.
The annual feast of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe) falls on December 12. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is Mexico's patron saint, and her image adorns churches and altars, house facades and interiors, taxis, private cars, and buses, bull rings and gambling dens, restaurants and houses of ill repute. The shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, la Basílica, is a place of extraordinary vitality and celebration. On major festival days such as the anniversary of the apparition on December 12th, the atmosphere of devotion created by the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims is truly electrifying.
The enormous Basílica of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Mexico City is the most visited pilgrimage site in the Western Hemisphere. As many as 18 to 20 million people visit the shrine each year. Its location, on the hill of Tepeyac, was a place of great sanctity long before the arrival of Christianity in the New World. In pre-Hispanic times, Tepeyac had been crowned with a temple dedicated to an earth and fertility goddess called Tonantzin, the Mother of the Gods. Tonantzin was a virgin goddess associated with the moon, like Our Lady of Guadalupe who usurped her shrine.
Read the full story of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe here.
Folk art depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Statue in resin of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Pope John Paul II, who was devoted to her. This image continues to be reproduced as calendars, statues of all sizes, and pictures to hang on the wall. Pope John Paul II still has millions of devotees in Mexico.