I know you’ve seen her. She’s on candles, murals, taco trucks, and flickr. She’s in private homes and in public spaces. She has her own alcove in ornate churches and graces humble shrines. She’s even on a steering wheel cover in Wal-Mart.
La Virgen de Guadalupe is omnipresent throughout El Pueblo de Nuestra SeÒora la Reina de los Angeles del RÌo de Porci˙ncula. I was thinking of this on the way to campus yesterday morning. I was so lost in concentration that I almost hit a black pick-up truck slowing down at the 10/405 interchange. When I noticed the white decal of la Virgen de Guadalupe on the rear window, I laughed at the irony of nearly crashing into the subject of my thoughts.
A decal on a truck should not surprise me. There are thousands of people with roots in Mexico living in LA. La Virgencita is the patron saint of Mexico (but this does not preclude other Latinos from being devotees). Monday December 12, el DÌa de Nuestra SeÒora de Guadalupe, is the day when Mexicans and other Guadalupanos (devotees), get together to celebrate and honor her.
I’ve split this up into three posts because one would be too long. Tomorrow, the origins of la Virgen de Guadalupe and the story of how she appeared to a humble Aztec Indian, Juan Diego, in 1531. Monday, more about the way she’s been interpreted by Guadalupanos in contemporary times.
Thanks to Gilbert Estrada for the photo.