By Berta Mexidor
JACKSON – Millions of pilgrims gathered on the evening of Dec. 11 in front of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, to greet the Patroness of the Americas, with an environment of love, faith and praise.
With the same spirit, millions more Mexicans and fervent Guadalupans around the world celebrated the mestizo queen. In the southern central United States, Mexicans have brought the following traditions, that have been embraced by the diversity of the Diocese of Jackson:
Mañanitas: Some parishes celebrate the tradition of singing Happy Birthday to the Virgin Mary.
Pilgrimage, Procession and Fiesta: Not only in the Mexican capital is the Virgin of Guadalupe celebrated exuberantly in San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato, Mexico, with a twelve day of pilgrimage full of dance and thanksgiving. In the Diocese of Jackson, each parish adapts its fiesta, so that all parishioners can pay their respects.
Children: On this day parents often dress their childrenup like the Virgin Mary or Juan Diego; or wear the image of Guadalupe or as Aztec warriors.
Aztec, Concheros, Dance of the Conquest or Matachines Dance: These dances recall with music, drama and song the moment of the battles against the conquerors and the moment in which the conquest ends with the acceptance of Christianity and the recognition of Jesus as savior.
Representation of the Apparition: The story of Juan Diego, the appearance of the Virgin Mary and the miracle is represented. The new generations listen to it, participate and with the passing of the years continue the tradition. This is one of the most reproduced Catholic stories, told and known by millions of Catholics and non-believers.
Folk dances: Celebrations for the Virgin Mary always include traditions. Where there is no Aztec dance or Matachines, the Guadalupanos dance to Mexican folklore songs, wearing beautiful costumes typical of the country.
For 40 years, the same love for the Mother God is spread in Mississippi and shared by millions of Marians around the world.