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Puerto Vallarta

Vallarta Lady Of Guadalupe Festival

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – So much of what you are able to experience of a destination comes down to the timing of your visit, and the first 12 days of December is a great time to be in Mexico, as cities across the country celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Known in Spanish as El Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, this important religious and social festival commemorates the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary to an Indian peasant and converted Catholic named Juan Diego on December 12, 1531.

According to legend, Juan Diego was walking on Tepeyac Hill, outside modern day Mexico City, when he saw a vision: A pregnant Indian woman, clothed in a turquoise robe with bright stars, with rays of sunlight emanating behind her, her hands folded in prayer. She identified herself as “The Virgin Mary, mother of the one true God.”

Mary reappeared to Juan Diego over three days and told him, even though it was December, to gather flowers upon the hill. Juan Diego found a patch of Spanish roses, gathered them and dropped them before the bishop, revealing the image of Mary seared into his cloak. To this day, the cloth is on display in Mexico City at the Basilica of Guadalupe, which was constructed at the site of the miraculous appearance, and is the most visited Marian shrine in the world.

Here in Puerto Vallarta, the virgin is honored by the hundreds of local businesses, unions, neighborhoods, and organizations that participate in the pilgrimage to the city’s most iconic landmark, The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The candlelight processions generally start in front of Woolworth’s and go the 11 blocks down Juarez street to the Guadalupe church. Indigenous pagan and Christian rituals are mixed together as young warriors dance in the streets commemorating the miraculous apparition, while others carry banners or colorful floats that usually portray the Virgin Mary and Juan Diego. Once the last procession reaches its destination, a special mass in devotion to Puerto Vallarta’s revered patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe, is celebrated.

The feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe is one of Puerto Vallarta’s most beloved and popular annual celebrations. Baptisms, confirmations, first holy communions and even weddings take place within the local community to coincide with this special and blessed date.

December 12, 2019 also marks the 168th anniversary of the founding of Puerto Vallarta so, after the religious ceremony, festive celebrations continue with parades, music, singing, dancing, fireworks and a plethora of street vendors selling everything from religious relics and traditional Christmas dishes to vacation souvenirs on the Malecón.

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