December 12

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Decorated church on December 12, 2018
Decorated church on December 12, 2018

The image shown above was taken on our annual celebration of the reappearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe that is celebrated on December 12th.  On this day, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to a poor peasant named Juan Diego whom she told to ask the bishop to build a church on Tepeyac Hill.  The community built a church in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe which is known as the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.  The Basilica is one of Mexico’s most visited monuments and is treasured by many Catholics all around the world.  To this day, the Virgin of Guadalupe is a powerful symbol of Mexican identity.  The creation of the church was meant to signify peace and unity among the community in which they could all go pray and keep their faith high.  Like my community, many other Mexican Catholics celebrate this day with many traditional events. The festivities begin around 10 p.m. on December 11th when everyone gathers in the church to listen to the Mariachi band play.   The inside of the temple is full of patriotic colors, images of her, and flowers.  The children dress in traditional clothing of the indigenous people from when she appeared - boys usually dress up like Juan Diego.  Once it strikes midnight, the mass begins and continuous for an hour.  After the mass, the people head over to a reception in which typical food for this day, tamales and hot chocolate called “champurrado”, are served.  At around 1 a.m. on the 12th, people dress up in decorated gowns and masks to perform a dance.  The entire community cheers and laughs for a bit longer before heading home.  

Place(s): Mexico, New Jersey
Year: 2002

– N

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant