Tag Archives: La Virgen de Guadalupe

12 days of Guadalupe on Instagram

Jill Douglas set our little SOTB Bloggers group a challenge this month, to find and share 12 images of the Virgen de Guadalupe on Instagram.

You might wonder why I participated since I’m not Catholic, nor Mexican, and the iconic image doesn’t inspire a spiritual connection to either the Virgin Mary or Tonantzin in me. However, I can appreciate good artwork when I see it, whatever its theme. After all, historically, artists made their bread and butter from murals, statues, and paintings commissioned by the church. For example, Da Vinci created the religious masterpiece The Last Supper and was not what was considered an orthodox Christian and Michelangelo who painted the glorious Sistine Chapel was condemned by the Pope for his religious beliefs.  

Be that as it may, I accepted the challenge and set off in search of La Virgen. The nearest town, Moroleon has whitewashed nearly all religious drawings with the exception of the churches themselves. As I wanted to capture a people’s version of La Virgen, I wasn’t interested in tromping into churches to snap pictures there. So my husband took me to Uriangato, which as you know has a different feel altogether. (Uriangato, Fogatas, tapetes and San Miguel Arcangel) Sure enough, nearly every corner had a shrine in honor of La Virgen de Guadalupe and I could take my pick.

It was evident that each mural was lovingly maintained. Flowers and plants were well-kept. The image was often covered by a roof or had evidence of periodic touching up. And the artwork was good, very good. Some murals only depicted her Majesty, Nuestra Señora la Reina de Mexico, herself. Others included Juan Diego, who was the first to speak with the apparition way back in 1531.  Still others included a crucified Jesus or a prayer asking for the Protectress’s blessing.


Here is a composite of the 12 pictures I shared on Instagram leading up to today, el Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, which the feast day that kicks off the holiday season known as Guadalupe-Reyes Maraton here in Mexico.

If you enjoyed these pictures, check out the #12daysofguadalupe participants below:

My Life Craft-n-Dab

Jill Michelle Douglas

Surviving Mexico


Would you like to learn more about La Virgen de Guadalupe?

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La Llorona Returns


There have been a rash of horror movies made recently, even an animated cartoon, about the legend of La Llorona (The Weeping Woman). It seems a bit tawdry that this Mexican myth has been regulated to the same genre as The Nightmare on Elm Street and other such slasher movies.

As with any story, there are several versions of this legend. In one version, La Llorona roams the streets weeping for her children who have accidently drowned in the canals. In another version, the children of La Llorona are murdered by their father. In yet another version, La Llorona drowns her children herself in a fit of insanity when the father of the children, a Spaniard, abandoned the family and married another.


Most experts agree that the basis for the legend most likely comes from the goddess Cihuacoatl of Aztec mythology. She was one of several goddesses of motherhood and fertility and the mother of Mixcoatl.  Myth states that she abandoned her son at a crossroads, but often returned there searching for her lost son.


La Llorona, Cihuacoatl, or perhaps another aspect of the goddess in the form of Coatlicue, was reported to have appeared prior to the conquest of Tenochtitlan by Hernan Cortes. The Florentine Codex record her words as “Ay mis hijos! Ya se acerca la hora de irnos. Ay mis hijos! ¿a dónde os llevaré? (Oh, my children! It is nearly time to leave. Oh, my children! Where will I bring you?)


Some believe that La Llorona was actually La Malinche. La Malinche, whose given name was Malinalli, then Marina once baptized, served as interpreter and advisor to Hernan Cortes. She did have two children. Martin was the son of Cortes. Maria was the daughter of Juan Jaramillo. There is no evidence that Malinalli murdered her children. On the contrary, her children were forcibly taken from her when both men abandoned Malinalli to marry titled Spanish women.


The legend of La Llorona reappears in the 1700’s. In the colonial version, a young indigenous girl is abandoned by her Spanish lover. In a fit of insanity, she drowns her children. When she recovers her senses and realizes what she has done, she drowns herself. She appears before the gates of Heaven where she is asked the whereabouts of her children. She is denied entrance and sent back to Earth to search for them, condemned to spend eternity trapped between the living and spirit world.


Some versions of the legend claim that La Llorona kidnaps children out at late at night and drowns them. She is said to appear in the late evenings near the rivers and lakes of Mexico City. Hearing the cry of La Llorona is said to be an omen of death.

The name most often given to La Llorona in most versions of the legend is Maria, which is fitting. Maria (Mary) had a son who was forcibly taken, tortured and executed by the state. (John 19) And Maria, in the form of the La Virgen de Guadalupe, is the embodiment of Mexico.


Today, La Llorona’s cry is heard again in Mexico. One year ago, September 26, 2014, Mexico, in a fit of insanity, murdered her children of Ayotzinapa. How long will she weep, searching for her children?

Ah mis hijos!




Filed under Death and all its trappings, Mexican Cultural Stories, Safety and Security

Christmas in México–La Virgen de Guadalupe


The Virgen de Guadalupe (Virgin of Guadalupe), a.k.a. Nuestra Reina de México, La Empresa de las Americas and The Protectress of Unborn Children, is the most revered religious and political image in México and her feast day on December 12 kicks off the Christmas season in grand style.

So who is the Virgin of Guadalupe? According to Catholic sources, on December 9, 1531, a peasant by the name of Juan Diego, saw a vision on the Hill of Tepeyac, outside of Mexico City. The site was formerly a shrine in honor of the goddess Tonantzin, “Our Sacred Mother” but had been burnt to the ground by the Catholic missionaries. The reported vision was in the form of a young dark-skinned girl and spoke Nahuatl, an indigenous language. She instructed Juan Diego to build a shrine in her honor at this site. Juan Diego went and told the Archbishop this story. Juan Diego insisted that this vision was the La Virgen María (the Virgin Mary), but the Archbishop wanted proof, so Juan Diego returned to the site and asked for a miracle. The vision told Juan Diego to gather flowers, and the apparition arranged them on his poncho. When Juan Diego opened his poncho in front of the Archbishop on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and the fabric showed an imprint of the image known today as the Virgen de Guadalupe. (LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE)

Juan Diego was given sainthood, and the Catholics were given México.The poncho (tilma) is on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe behind bulletproof, climate-controlled glass, for any who wish to see but not touch. So basically, La Virgen de Guadalupe is Mary, the mother of Jesus, but not.

la reina de mexico

Even more than the religious influence, the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe has been a unifying political force in México. The first president of México, José Miguel Ramón Adaucto Fernández y Félix changed his name to Guadalupe Victoria (Victory of Guadalupe) in her honor. Father Miguel Hidalgo, in the Mexican War of Independence (1810), and Emiliano Zapata, in the Mexican Revolution (1910), led their armies with Guadalupan flags emblazoned with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. El Grito de Dolores, (See Mexican Independence Day) ends with the passionate cry of “Death to the Spaniards and long live the Virgin of Guadalupe. José María Morelos adopted the Virgin as the seal of his Congress of Chilpancingo. All because her blessing guarantees success like no other to a true Mexican.

This holds true for namesakes as well. There is no end to the men and women (Lupes, Lupillos, Lupitas, Lupillas) that carry the sacred name of La Virgen as their personal Saint and enjoy the festivities on December 12 as their Saint Day.


So how is La Virgen’s de Guadalupe’s feast day celebrated? Beginning on December 3, there is a 9-day novena (See La Novena) which ends on December 12th. If you need special intervention for a personal cause, you can make the pilgrimage to México City to lay your plea at her feet during this time. If you are not able to make the trip, shrines pop up all over México, so you still get a chance no matter where you are, although the surest and most direct route for prayer answering remains at the shrine in the Basilica. Don’t worry about oversleeping, fireworks in her honor begin before the sun shines. On the morning of December 12, home and church shrines are serenaded with Las Mañanitas as you would any other Mexican on his or her Saint day and birthday.(NOVENA A LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE)(Mananitas a La Virgen De Guadalupe: La Reina)

virgen church

In Moroleón, the street Tepeyac is closed and a sort of tianguis (See Failing at your own business-Tianguis) street fair is set up. Street vendors sell their things, kiddie rides are available, and at the end of it all, up a long, long flight of stairs, you can attend mass at the templo (church) in Uriangato.

The Virgin of Guadalupe Religious Statue




Filed under Mexican Holidays, Religion