December Traditions, a Sense of Communal Sharing in Cabo (part 1)

December Traditions, a Sense of Communal Sharing in Cabo (part 1)

Rancho San Lucas is an ideal home base from which to take part in the many December traditions and activities in the Cabo area. It is a time to immerse yourself in things big and small, and a way to strengthen community bonds. Faith and devotion are intricate parts of what constitutes Mexican life and culture. It is a uniting communal force that welcomes everyone equally. Be sure to experience the Peregrinaciones to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Cabo San Lucas.
Peregrinaciones (Pilgrimages) are the processions which occur a few days before and on December 12th. December 12 is the day that Mexico celebrates the feast commemorating the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to indigenous peasant Juan Diego, in 1531. Legend tells us that the Virgin wanted Juan Diego to transmit a message to the Bishop. Juan Diego was to visit the Bishop and explain to him Our Lady’s wishes. She wanted a church built on the spot of her apparition (the hill of Tepeyac, in Mexico City) to be built in her honor, so she could receive and compassionately console all her children – the natives and mestizos of the newly colonized New Spain, which was to become Mexico. Her message was simple yet profound.
The Bishop, in what was a most unusual gesture, received Juan Diego, listened to his story and then asked for some proof. Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego again and gave him some out-of-season fragrant roses which he was to take to the Bishop. On that next visit, when he knelt before the Bishop to present the roses to him, the Virgin’s image miraculously appeared on his tilma (cloak). This tilma, with this very image emblazoned on it, is enshrined prominently in the Basilica, the church built to honor her as the Protector Mother of all Mexicans.
Millions of people travel from every corner of Mexico, some even make the trip by foot, to the Basilica in Mexico City to honor the Virgen de Guadalupe. In towns and cities all over Mexico there are shrines dedicated to venerating Our Lady of Guadalupe which are visited as well, and have their own Peregrinaciones. Families, parishioners, neighborhoods, fellow workers and social organizations, process in what resembles a festive parade with offerings of rice, beans, fruits and flowers, singing the traditional songs that tell the story of Guadalupe.
Interspersed in the processions are floats carrying children representing the apparition, groups of musicians and marching bands, as well as Aztec dancers performing Pre-Hispanic native dances. Small boys dressed as Juan Diego with their little moustaches painted on their upper lips, and adorable girls in typical regional garb or dressed as Guadalupe herself, imbue the street fair atmosphere of the pilgrimage with a solemn but festive air, as everyone walks towards the churches to give gratitude and receive blessings.
Our Lady of Guadalupe represents the translation of the Nahuatl traditions and their Earth Mother Tonantzin into what was to become the message of faith and hope in the transformation of the people of Mexico. Guadalupe is the ribbon that binds the mixture of distinct European and Indigenous cultural heritages, both racial and spiritual, into a blended whole. Her beautiful brown mestizo face is a reminder of this. All Mexicans consider themselves “Guadalupanos,” it is a part of their identity. The Virgin of Guadalupe is “Queen of Mexico and Patroness of all the Americas”, embracing and giving all, hope for a better future.
Rancho San Lucas invites you not only to participate in these beautiful tradition, but also in the Posadas, Pastorelas and other December activities that will be described in part two of this blog note.

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