December has finally arrived! In Mexico this means a lot of celebrations throughout the country. Mexico has diversity on its festivities and traditions. December brings you to one of the most treasured Catholic celebrations among Mexican people, the celebration of Guadalupe.
Guadalupe´s celebration is a Roman Catholic celebration of Saint Guadalupe, a religion many Mexican people practice. Every year on December 12th, locals gather in a major city or town close to their home to celebrate Guadalupe´s anniversary. The festivities honor and thank Guadalupe for giving birth to baby Jesus. It´s true that the origin of this celebration is Catholic but non religious people find this celebration important as well.
The person who celebrates Guadalupe´s anniversary, is called a “Guadalupano”.
Every city celebrates in a different way but there are common traditions that each celebration upholds. Locals usually get December 12th as a day off at work. Mexican companies organize their own parades and give employees shirts with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. This celebration happens simultaneously in every part of the country. It starts really early in the morning with the “peregrination” or parade where hundreds of people hold a statue of Guadalupe virgin and wear shirts with her image.
The parade happens on the main avenues of the city and or highways. You will see this in Riviera Maya. Hundreds of locals will hold torches and sing different prayers while they bike, run or walk to the final parade destination. It is actually a very spiritual experience for the participants of the parade and even for the people who stare at it. In the Riviera Maya people make a pilgrimage from small pueblos to Tulum, a pilgrimage that can take a few days. Watch out for these groups on local highways as you will see them!
You can always ask to join pilgrimages or Guadalupe parades if you would like to experience this event. Either hit the road or show up at a local church where the event ends. Visiting local places and being part of Mexican celebrations is one of the best ways to experience Mexico while on vacation.
Churches are full of people during this celebration but those are not the only places. Municipality parks are also part of the locations where Guadalupanos celebrate. In addition to the parades and pilgrimages there is a festival at every local on December 11th just before midnight. People serenade the Virgin of Guadalupe with Mariachi music, guitars, or any instrument they play.
If by now you feel curious about this celebration and want to be part of it, feel free to join in. There are great ways of enjoying your holidays in Mexico but nothing says more “I know Mexico” like being part of Guadalupe´s celebration.
Be adventurous, be a true explorer of this beautiful country and join locals on December 12th. What a great experience to sing with Mariachis at a Mexican church or be a part of the Guadalupe parade!
We highly suggest you to visit any Playa del Carmen church on December 11th or come down to Tulum if you want to join in on the December 12th festivities.