Photos: The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe

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Today is the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Across Mexico – and the world – devotees flock to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the heart Mexico City to celebrate and pay tribute to the patron saint that Catholics call the Queen of Mexico and the Empress of the Americas.

Los Angeles is the second city with the largest of population of Mexicans after Mexico City. All Angelenos probably pass by an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe several times in one day. Her image is at supermarkets, corner shops, murals, sketched onto curb-sides and in most every Catholic church across the city.

Sonic Trace visited a community in Santa Monica and another in South LA to find out how they were celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe’s birthday.

Here’s the Legend of the Virgin of Guadalupe:

Legend has it that on December 9, 1531, an indigenous peasant named San Diego was walking to his village from Mexico City, when suddenly he had a vision. On a barren hill, called Tepeyac stood a girl of fifteen or sixteen, surrounded by light. She told Juan Diego to tell the Archbishop that she wanted a church built in her honor atop that mountain.

Frightened but adamant, Juan Diego visited the Archbishop to tell him of his vision. He saw the Virgin Mary! The Archbishop dismissed him and tell him that he must bring proof. Saddened, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac to tell the lady that he couldn’t convince the Archbishop.

As he approached Tepeyac, he noticed a bead of red roses where a day before it was barren. He laid down his cloak and took as many roses as he could carry back to the Archbishop in Mexico City. The Archbishop received Juan Diego on December 12. Juan Diego opened his cloak to show the Archbishop. At that moment, the roses fell to the ground, and in their place was the image of the Virgen of Guadalupe. They say that this same image is in the Baslic of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.