The actual tilma (cape-like garment) worn by San Juan Diego when he first saw Our Lady of Guadalupe, 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. 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.
Our Lady of Guadalupe flashing light, surrounded by fresh roasted peanuts. Morelia, Michoacán. November 2009.
Plastic holy water bottles in a rainbow of colors, for sale at the booths just outside the Basílica.
Primitive 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 is reproduced as calendars, statues of all sizes, and pictures to hang on the wall. In Mexico, it's still one of the most popular images of 'the real Pope--Mexico's pope'.
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