La Guadalupana

If you have never been to Vallarta during the first twelve days in December, then you are missing a huge part of what it means to spend the holiday season in Mexico. Every evening for those twelve days there are peregrinaciones, or pilgrimages, to the Church of Guadalupe in El Centro, to pay homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Many individuals and organizations create elaborate floats that recreate the moment that the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to the Aztec Juan Diego. Aztec dancers also make processions to the cathedral and you will hear the song “La Guadalupana” sung by the hundreds of pilgrims that are walking in candlelit solidarity.
Some of you will tell me that you are leaving your home country at Christmas in order to get away from all of the holiday madness. You will say that you are tired of the materialism and selfishness that has begun to permeate the season. You will say that you came to lie on a beach and allow the sun to turn your brain into bread pudding for just seven blessed days.
You’ve chosen to travel during this time of year to escape something: stress, weather, numbing routine, the growing materialism. I challenge you to embrace that feeling of escape, and discover everything Mexico has to offer during our December celebrations.
For our family, Christmas cannot begin until we have spent one evening in El Centro during December 1 to 12. Here is my personal list of events for the evening:
1) Find parking
2) Find parking while asking the children to let daddy concentrate on driving
3) Find parking while discussing with the children which thing they may no longer be able to purchase unless we make some changes around here
4) Race to watch our favorite Aztec dancers
5) Find out that the Aztec dancers actually start in two hours, at the exact time that we will be (if there’s any justice in this world) climbing into bed
6) Watch a spectacular reenactment taking place on a float of The Virgin of Guadalupe appearing to Juan Diego
7) Look for the vendor selling the same glowing, blinking, twirling thing that that other kid has
8) Find all the other vendors selling glowing, blinking things but nothing twirls
9) Find the vendor selling the glowing, blinking, twirling thing, only to be told that they are sold out
10) Make a tough but unanimous group decision that twirling is way overrated and that glowing and blinking is where it’s at
11) Watch another spectacular reenactment on a float of The Virgin of Guadalupe appearing to Juan Diego
12) Begin the agonizing search for That Perfect Snack among the countless stalls of Perfect Snacks (all of which are available only once a year during La Guadalupana)
13) Finally settle on tamales for the grownups and elote con crema for the children. Sit down on a step in the main plaza and get ready to dig in
14) Buy more snacks after the dogs jump into our laps in order to spill and subsequently eat the first ones
15) Be informed by the children that their very survival depends on a crepa with nutella
16) Line up at the crepa stand
17) Realize that, after the crepa line, we are just in time to see the Aztec dancers. How can it possibly have been two hours already?
18) Spend what is probably in the top ten of the most beautiful moments in our lives. The noise of the drum is actually beating inside us while we take in all the grace and reverence of the dancers. The lights shining from the Cathedral’s jeweled crown is bathing the whole scene in a light that we will be unable to describe to anyone else.
No one is angry; no one wants another snack or a glowing thing. We are just here, right now, part of a bigger family that is the community of Vallarta. Come and join us.


  1. In The U.S. at Christmas time there is snow and the song “I’ll be home for Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby, as families meet for the opening of the children’s gifts, and the dinner with the whole family seated around the dining room table, and the fire roaring in the fireplace.

    Christmas is selecting a tree from the Xmas tree lot, or traveling to the forest to cut one down … and trimming the tree . Then there is the Christmas shopping season where the stores and shopping centers are ablaze with colored lights, trimmed Christmas trees , music is played, a Santa Claus that children line up to sit on his lap to tell him what they want for Christmas.

    The materialistic thing about this time of the year is it is the time where the stores make most of their sales over the year. When our three daughter were young, we would purchase their toys at sales during the year, and stack them in the upper selves of the closet. Unbeknown to us , our daughters would get a chair to see what they would be getting for Christmas.

    Each item would be wrapped separately with colorful wrapping paper and colored ribbon to look attractive under the Christmas tree. At Christmas eve, or morning when the presents were handed out. paper and ribbons would be flying as I took motion pictures of all the merriment. After the girls went outside to play with heir friends and compare what they got, many of the toys would be returned to the closet to be handed out during the year.

    Take away the American Christmas, and you take away much of the children’s life that was special. This is what families do here. It may be called keeping up with the Jones’s , however it is how our culture maintains a competitive spirit , that sets America ahead of the rest of the world … and teaching each generation to work at doing and having more that their parents. Free enterprise Capitalism is what has made the United States the Superpower and most productive nation of all modern history .

    You do not see Americans going to another country to celebrate Christmas, unless they have come from another country where their family resides. When immigrating to America and bringing with them their culture, they may loose out on a wonderful children’s holiday, that keeps family’s together and provides many unforgettable memories … at least for me it has. Jingle bells, jingle bells, Santa is on his way. How can one ever forget this?

  2. I realize that Christmas in Mexico is a religious event to pay homage to your Lady of Guadalupe …. Virgin of Guadalupe , However in American dictionaries the word virgin relates to the Virgin Mary , Mother of Jesus, and Christmas to the birth of Jesus.

    I am a 20 th century born and careered sovereign man in the U.S. of America, not of the time of the Bible and its events, but however taught in my youth in the neighborhood Christian Science Sunday School , who never joined the Church, but was much later asked by the Head Church to become a teacher as a result of my testimonial given at the side my oldest adult daughter at a Wednesday Evening Church Testimonial Meeting at the 7th Christian Science Church, in San Francisco. My Testimonial was heard in all Christian Science Churches in America, their Reading Rooms and Old Folks Homes . It must have made quite an impression on the Church membership.

    I turned this invitation down because I have certain problems with the various translations and content of the current bible, and not with their Science & Health, Key to the Scriptures … by the Church founder Mary Baker Eddy.

    It relates to the Virgin Mary, her Virgin Mother, Jesus’s identity, and the identity of the various Gods and demigods. And I guess that this also includes the Virgin of Guadalupe .

    My dictionary also characterizes a virgin woman among other things as not touched by man. Thus the birthing woman who gave birth to the demigods from the Gods of Heaven written about in the Bible Old Testament , made Jesus with a mother also of a virgin birth more than just a demigod, but three quarters a God from heaven.

    Today genetics has shown us that the RH negative blood type came from the Gods from Heaven, the type AB blood that was also Jesus’s , plus some 232 genes in the human genome , that are not found in the International Gene Bank which includes the gene of all the other species on Earth. These 232 genes makes man different from all the other primate species that exist on Earth.

    These scientific facts are need to explain what that is written in the Bible means. The many books that have been removed from the Bible were removed because they described a non terrestrial explanation for Mankind other than a divine God. This is explained in the lost Book of Enoch.

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