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It is about December 12, one of the most important dates for Mexicans, since the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, is celebrated. Do you already know how you are going to celebrate it? We have prepared for you several ideas to celebrate as a family: from a short story for children about the Virgin of Guadalupe even excursions to do all together. Take note!
A highly recommended activity to help the little ones understand the origin of the festival is to tell them the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Juan Diego. This narrative tells how the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego, as well as the different miracles of the Guadalupana. It can be a family reunion time that the little ones will love.
Once upon a time, a boy named Juan Diego, when climbing to the top of a hill, saw a woman dressed in the sun. The woman called him:
- Juanito, Juan Dieguito… come here! I am the Virgin Saint Mary and I need you to build a temple to help all who need me.
To fulfill my wish, you just have to go to the bishop of Mexico and tell him that it was the Mother of God who sent you.
Juan Diego went to see the bishop, but he did not believe his word, and demanded a sign as proof. The Virgin told Juan Diego to come back the next day, but he could not return because his uncle Juan Bernardino became very ill.
On December 12, when the boy was looking for a priest to bless the death of his uncle, he found the Virgin Mary on the way.
- Juanito, where are you going?
- To Mexico, to find a priest for my uncle who are dying. I'll come back for proof when I can
Then the Virgin replied:
- Listen Juan Diego, I am your mother and source of your joy. Your uncle is cured! You just have to go up to the top of the hill and bring me flowers.
Juan Diego did what the Virgin asked him and she told him:
- These flowers are the sign that you will take to the Bishop. In them is my desire to build my temple.
When Juan Diego arrived at the Bishop's palace, he told him everything that had happened and when he went to deliver the flowers, he saw that the image of the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe had been engraved on his mantle.
And that was how the bishop ordered the construction of the temple of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
The veneration of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico is world famous. Every December 12, the Mexican people come together to celebrate the apparition of the Virgin to the Chichimeca indigenous Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin in 1531.
Since the days before the festival, millions of pilgrims arrive at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, at the foot of the Tepeyac hill, the original place of the apparition. Mexican families come together to celebrate the Virgin, through prayers, songs and dances characteristic of this National Holiday declared by the Congress of the Nation.
These are days when Mexican Catholics feel a deep religious fervor that they transmit to the little ones, teaching them how to celebrate this important holiday. Even many non-Catholic or non-practicing Mexicans join the celebration, because everyone knows how miraculous the Virgin of Guadalupe is. The little ones live the festival with admiration and learn to love the Virgin from an early age, so today we want to tell you some ideas to celebrate the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe with children.
1. Take your children to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
If you live in Mexico City, you have no excuse to miss the celebrations of the Virgin of Guadalupe. And if they come from another state, it may be the ideal time to take a family trip and see first-hand how the Virgin is celebrated in the heart of the country.
From the 11th the festivities begin at 6:45 pm, with the song of the famous "Guadalupana", the traditional song to the Virgin of Guadalupe. During the day, you will be able to see the Matlachin dancers leading the processions, as well as the different flower offerings that are created for the Virgin.
At 12:00 am the ‘Mañanitas’ are sung to the Virgin of Guadalupe, to celebrate another year of festivities. During the early morning and until 8 pm on December 12, different masses are held in the Basilica, but the most popular is the one dedicated to the Celebration and Blessing of the Roses in the middle of the afternoon (12 am).
In addition, you cannot miss visiting the tilma or ayate inside the Basilica with the original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe and participate in the different festivals that are celebrated outside it. It will be a unique experience for your children!
2. Visit the Villa and the hill of Tepeyac
If you go to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, you can take the opportunity to take a walk through La Villa de Guadalupe and visit the different monuments and religious buildings created around the Virgin of Guadalupe. In addition, one of the most recommended excursions on these dates is the climb to Cerro de Tepeyac, where you can visit the Cerrito Chapel, the original place of the Marian apparitions, and get to know the commemorative fountain of the Apparitions of the Virgin, as well as enjoy the incredible views of the Valley of Mexico.
3. Visit one of the churches or chapels of the Virgin of Guadalupe in your city
Throughout Mexico there are different memorial sites to the Virgin of Guadalupe. These are chapels and churches erected in different strategic points so that all the parishioners can venerate the Virgin. In addition, in all of them meetings are usually held outside the church, with delicious food and drinks typical of each region, to create a moment of conviviality and communion. They even wear ‘mañanitas’ with mariachis to sing to the Virgin. Surely in your city or in a nearby city they can go to see the Virgin, participate in a procession or religious activity related to the festival.
4. Participate in the ‘Novenas’
During the nine days prior to December 12, a novena is held per day to ask the Virgin of Guadalupe or to thank her for a miracle granted. The most devout go to their usual church or a Guadalupe chapel or church to participate in these rosaries daily, until the day of the festival arrives, where different masses are also celebrated. If you want to transmit to your children the devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, this is a good way to do it.
5. Sing to the Virgin of Guadalupe
A symbolic and very beautiful act that they can do at home is to sing the ‘Guadalupana’ and ‘Mañanitas’ to the Virgin of Guadalupe as a family. They can make a small altar in honor of the Virgin, light some candles and sing to her, in the same way that they sing to her in the capital of Mexico.
6. Go to the fair
One of the things that, without a doubt, children like the most during these festivities are the fairs that are usually held around the chapels or churches of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In them, you can enjoy games, traditional sweets, churros or enchiladas potatoes. In addition, in many localities culture is promoted with different performances of dances and songs, which the little ones enjoy while learning a little more about the traditions of their country.
For most Mexicans, the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe is one of the most important of the year, So if you want your children to feel that way too, don't hesitate to participate in any of the activities that we propose. Long live the Virgin!
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