Las Mañanitas a la Virgen de Guadalupe

On December 12 Catholics in Los Angeles celebrated the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in Downtown LA parishioners attended an evening with indigenous dancers and the veneration of the relic of the tilma of St. Juan Diego. The Holy Virgin appeared to Diego on a tilma (a cloak, an outer garment) in 1531 and inspired him to spread the gospel of Christianity in Mexico. In 1990 Pope John Paul II canonized Juan Diego and 10 years later Diego was declared a Saint. Later that evening, Catholics sang “Las Mañanitas,” a traditional Mexican birthday song to honor the Holy Virgin.

On December 5 the Archdiocese of Los Angeles held its 90th Procession and Mass to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego. Catholics marched from Our Lady of Solitude Parish in East LA to East LA College Stadium.  Archbishop Jose Gomez of LA invited Catholics to attend the event stating, “In the presence of Our Lady we need to feel awe and wonder. Truly, it is nothing we deserve — nothing we could ever earn — it is a pure gift of God’s beautiful love for us.”

Parishioners celebrate this Feast Day by attending morning mass. There are indigenous Aztec dancers (Concheros) that perform during the mass and at public places. Concheros wear hats with colorful feathers and decorative attire. The day is celebrated with delicious tamales, pozole, gorditas, cinnamon atole and more.

On the Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe my family and I woke up at 4:30 am for a sunrise mass which ended at 7:00 am. After church our family watched the festive dancing. A local bakery provided hot atole to keep us warm in the chilly morning hours. At the end of the performance a dancer sounded the quiquizoani, a traditional musical conch shell instrument. After the performance, my family gathered at friend’s house for fellowship and feasting.