Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe

Yesterday, December 12th, is perhaps the most important religious festival in the Mexican calendar. The Virgin of Guadalupe is part of Mexico’s identity, and if you should ever be lucky enough to visit Mexico, you’ll see that you can’t turn 360 degrees without seeing a reproduction of her somewhere. What is the Virgin of Guadalupe, exactly? It is a painting, with quite a story to it.

Whenever people are seriously ill, family members are likely to make a pilgramage to the Basilica de Guadalupe where the painting is displayed. But on December 12th, Mexico City’s already bulging population is swelled by countless millions more as pilgrims come from all over the country. You can see them in long lines all along the city’s streets as they head there. Quite a few will do the last few kilometres on their knees. The photo below is one I took of the actual painting when I went to the Basilica in the spring. How did I celebrate? Well I had the day off so I went out to try a new restaurant. One of the cool things of Mexico City is that people will open up restaurants almost anywhere including in their front rooms. And you can get some seriously nice food from many of them, although you must exercise some caution – there are a few that wouldn’t pass a Health Inspectors test in an Indian side street. We found a very nice one though, serving Yucatan food in a beautifully decorated dinner room and patio. You’d never believe there was anything worthwhile visiting from the entrance – ust a weed covered path going up an alley. I love Cochinita and Lemon Soup, but it’s not always easy to find a place selling good stuff. We’ve long been visiting a restaurant miles and miles away, so it’s nice to havea new place to go that’s just round the corner.

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