Our Lady of Guadalupe (also known as La Virgen de Guadalupe), Madrecita (dear mother) to many Mexicanos & Latinos is celebrated December 12. Throughout the Twin Cities, communities, churches, and even some schools celebrate this holiday.
Amazingly enough, here in St. Paul, MN, some of my earliest cultural Mexican experiences were at Our Lady of Guadalupe church in St. Paul, MN located on the “Westside”. I was raised Catholic, and of the Mexican Catholic traditions, I most embrace is the celebration of la Virgen de Guadalupe. I am AMAZED and moved beyond words of the love that our culture has for ‘la Virgencita”. As a young girl at church on this date many years ago, I remember seeing people crawling upright on their knees down the entire aisle from back of the church to the front altar (at least 50’), and without anyone explaining to me why they were doing this, I was moved to tears! And so, the following year, my friend and I also decided to go at 5am for the ‘serenata’ (serenade with mariachi to la Virgencita), and crawl the aisle on our knees, a memory I hold dearly.
Later I learned that it’s a sacrifice & plead to La Virgencita to intercede for the believers prayers to God. All across Mexico in churches & villages people offer up a variety of personal sacrifices ranging from fasting, knee crawling, and short to very long pilgrimages. Ever since then in some way, I always celebrate La Virgencita, for me, it’s partially for religious beliefs, but mostly, a very endearing appreciation of this beautiful cultural experience.
Our Lady of Guadalupe church in St.Paul(as well as other churches in Twin Cities) is flooded increasingly with Mexicano & Latino believers every year for this celebration. The celebrations commence about midnight December 11 with a variety of musicians, traditional dancers(dancing to Tonantzin), roses & candles galore, rosary praying, reenactments, prayer, and even families giving away hot specialty drinks like Atole, Chocolate and Tamales.
At both of our El Burrito Mercado locations we are stocked with the accustomed candles & roses, and altars are set up so that employees & community believers can set roses and candles for her. At our St. Paul store on December 12 from 11am-12pm there will be mariachi, complimentary pan dulce(sweet bread) and coffee.
A fairly accurate description of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe & Juan Diego: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe