El Dia de la Virgen

Trucked (Metro-ed) downtown with Edythe in search of Guadalupe altars at Olvera Street, where a two-day celebration for El Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe was winding down. La Placita at Our Lady Queen of the Angels was mostly cleared out, but there were still flowers, notes, photos, and candles, at a fountain installation with no water, where two feral kitties were jumping around.

We wandered into the church, where a small group dotted the pews and listened to a mariachi band playing beneath the bright, beautiful, and elaborate festivity decorations - golden yellow stars on blue curtains, bright pink, sheeny-shiny fabric roses, offerings of prickly pear and flowers and flowers and flowers around a life-size statue of Saint Juan Diego.

December 12 is El Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe, patron saint and reina/queen of Mexico. La Virgen appeared to Juan Diego in the desert on December 9 in 1531, on the Hill of Tepeyac, now a suburb of Mexico City. She spoke to him in Nahuatl, his native language, and ask him to build a church there in her honor. On December 12, Juan Diego met with the Spanish Archbishop of Mexico City to tell him about the Marian apparition, and on his tilma/cloak was the image of Mary.

After stopping at each of the inside altars, we left through the back of the church, where a woman was selling spicy chicken tamales for a dollar each. Tamales in hand, we walked along the outside of La Placita, and I've never seen so many candles, or flowers, in one place - to think about it, I really, really don't think I have.