The Lady of Guadalupe is much revered among the Latin-American community

Latino communities across the United States are all set to celebrate the Lady of Guadalupe during the second week of December. The days are important for all Latinos, including Mexican-Americans. The Lady symbolizes devotion, patriotism, and identity. Her image inspires the faithful, the artists, and the activists, including feminists. However, although Latin America reveres her, American Christians of different backgrounds are mostly unaware of the impact and origin of the icon.

The Lady of Guadalupe is being celebrated by the Latino Catholic American community in Rio Grande Valley. The faith towards her is extremely strong in the valley. The feeling is articulated by Bishop Daniel Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville, who said that his parishioners are among the many who would attend a joyous event complete with dances, Mass, and a parade.

Colorfully dressed and costumed people danced in front of statues depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe. Others came in horses carrying portraits framing her supposed image. Mike Maza, a church member, explained the costumes, saying the attire and the dancing go back to pre-colonial times Latin America. The narration starts from the month of December 1531. At that time, the Spaniards had conquered the Aztec empire and reigned over the area for only about ten years. A majority of inhabitants then in Mexico were the descendants of the Aztecs, and a few of them like Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin were Christian converts.

According to legend, Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, a peasant on the top of a hill located near Mexico City. The Mother of God asked him to construct a shrine in her name. The native Mexican reported the matter to the local bishop. The latter did not believe that the events took place. The bishop requested proof from the poor man. The vision reappeared on December 12 and told him to collect flowers from the hilltop. This request was out of the ordinary as it was winter-time and flowers bloomed only during the summer-time. Juan Diego, however, followed her instructions and found a number of Castilian roses. The Lady of Guadalupe assisted Juan Diego to arrange the roses inside his cloak or tilma. Upon his return, Juan Diego showed the bishop the cloak the lady helped arrange. The roses then fell and inside the cloak was a Virgin Mary image. This image from then on became known as Our Lady of Guadalupe.


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