Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is known to have the longest festival celebrating Dia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe or Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. The festival starts on December 1st for 12 days and takes over the downtown historical zone near the Cathedral of our Lady of Guadalupe.
In 1531 on approx December 12th on the top of a hill near Mexico City, Juan Diego a simple peasant saw the miraculous appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe and according to the legend she emblazoned her image on Juan Diego’s cloak so he could spread her word. The cloak with her image can still be seen in Mexico City at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is a very important part of the Catholic religion in Mexico.
The day has an additional importance as December 12th was also the day in 1851 that Don Guadalupe Sanchez founded Puerto Vallarta Sanchez; thus, the 12th of December, also marks the anniversary of the founding of Puerto Vallarta.
In Vallarta, the “Perigranaciones” (pilgrimages) or processions begin on the first of December and start from the corner of Juarez and 31 de Octubre Streets walking through town to the Cathedral. Pilgrimages are made by different groups such as schools, businesses, and hotels, neighborhoods etc. from PV and from surrounding towns. Most walk this route however as the festival goes on there are groups from the hotels to the south of town that approach from the south, starting at their place of business and some walk up to 9 miles from Mismaloya to enter the Cathedral and place gifts for the Virgin and receive a special blessing from the Priests. The festival is a wonderful blend of traditional Catholic symbols and pre-Hispanic traditions like the amazing Indian dancer’s inn traditional native dress, complete with colorful headdresses made of feathers. Seeing these dancers in a Catholic event is a wonderful example of the blending of pre-Hispanic and western culture that makes up modern-day Mexico.
The bells in the church will be ringing throughout the day, as well as into the evening. The square in front of the church and nearby streets will be filled with booths selling an interesting selection of food and drinks, from Atole ( a thick corn drink) to Tamales, Tacos Pastor, Flan and almost anything mobile enough to sell of a street stand.
These 12 days are a wonderful time to visit Puerto Vallarta, to learn about Mexican culture, and to be a part of the country’s most famous public religious event.
On December 12th, the final night, there will be mariachi bands and fireworks, so come and bring your camera!
The Cathedral of our lady of Guadalupe is the well known landmark of Puerto Vallarta and the elaborate crown – allegedly designed to resemble a tiara worn by one of Emperor Maximilian’s mistresses – simply cannot be overlooked.
Everyone is expected to pay homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta’s revered patron saint. On the eve of the December 12th, the last procession congregates at the Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort and begins its journey towards the Cathedral. Once the procession reaches its destination, a special mass in devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated.
Baptisms, confirmations, first holy communions and even weddings take place within the local community to coincide with this special and blessed date. Fireworks decorate and light up the skies, folk dance groups perform, traditional parades entertain the crowds, people sing hymns and songs of praise in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and the central plaza is filled to the brim with street vendors selling fruits, food, local products and other specialties. The festival successfully combines ancient Aztec traditions with modern Christian symbolism.
There are many fabulous videos check out this
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