Sunday, December 13, 2015

The New Juan Diego

Yesterday was December 12th. Before I go on, I should say that December is quite crazy in general in Oaxaca. From about December 8th onwards, you can pretty well count on parades every night, fireworks every night, festivals every weekend. And then, to top it off, we have three Virgins to help us make December even more fun. First is Juquila, who I have not yet made a pilgrimage to visit. She lives near the coast, and some day (as I have been invited) I will do the three day walk through the Sierras to pay homage to her. Later this month, I promise to blog about Our Lady of Soledad, she is my favorite, but she runs a close race with Guadalupe.

Back to the deal with the 12th. The Virgin of Guadalupe's special day of celebration is December 12th. Guadalupe has a long and very interesting history. Originally I believe she "existed" in Turkey and immigrated to Spain. In 1531, she appeared to a peasant, Juan Deigo. After much back and forth, she pulled off several miracles to help convince a small minded Bishop that he had best build her a shrine, or else. (A recovered ailing Uncle, flowers where no flowers grew before, and her image emblazoned on Juan Diego's cloak. Groups of three worked their special magic even then...)

You can read more about Lupe here: Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe

And so, her history as the Mother of all Mexicans begins. You could debate her authenticity, but you could not debate that she is celebrated. All over Mexico. Real fans might make the pilgrimage to Mexico City to her shrines there. In Oaxaca, her church is over by Llano Park, so last night we head over to help celebrate her. As we are immigrants, we are forgiven for not liming up for hours to be blessed in her church. As we are childless, we are forgiven for not being able to dress our little ones up like Juan Diego:

Is he not the cutest? Thanks to his parents for letting me take the pic!

As white folk walking around, we are encouraged to participate in taking our picture with the live donkeys. We took two. If we had a little Juan Diego, we would have had him on the donkey, of course.
Yes, yes, this is a real donkey...

And this mini donkey is real, too!

And finally, as Ralph is a bit older looking, we are forgiven from not getting on the spinning, turning, rides.

And if this in not forward thinking, I am not sure what is. The modern version of Juan Diego, traveling through the mountains to look for the Bishop not on his mule, but on his shiny red All Terrain Vehicle...

Two down, one Virgin to go. And then... the Radish Festival!

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