Our Lady of Guadalupe

As a cultural reinforcement of two cults

Our Lady of Guadalupe
"Virgen de Guadalupe" painting by Miguel Cabrera – Photo: Sáshenka Gutiérrez/EFE
English 13/12/2017 18:42 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 14:19
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One of the biggest festivities in Mexico is the Virgen de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe) Day celebrated on December 12.

According to the ethnologist Amparo Rincon Perez, Head of Popular Art of the General Directorate of Popular, Indigenous, and Urban Cultures (DGCPIU) of the Ministry of Culture: "The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe united and reinforced two cults: on the one hand, there was the moon, and on the other, the hill, seen as a geographical space where life itself was reflected” adding that its high location is associated with the pyramids.

Thus, this should be the reason why Our Lady of Guadalupe is represented on the moon and in prints on snakes, a symbol that refers to the Coatlicue (the Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars, and Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war).

According to tradition, Our Lady of Guadalupe had her first appearance in 1531 in the Hill of Tepeyac, already in the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin was a Chichimeca who saw the Lady and went with the first bishop of the diocese of Mexico, Franciscan friar Juan de Zumárraga, to reveal the miraculous image.

The cult was associated with that of Tonantzin, so Tepeyac was already a sacred place for the settlers.

For the anthropologist Estela Vega Deloya, December 12 celebration "has more to do with the symbolic worldview re-elaboration of our native peoples and with our ritual landscape of Mexico City and the basin of Mexico."


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