Wednesday, December 12, 2007



Eleven years ago, our family had the pleasure of experiencing a trip to Mexico. It was the first for the children, the second for hubby and I.

It was there we learned to love all things Mexican, from the food fare to the colorful attire, the music, the singing, the traditional dancing, the people and everything that began with “Olah”.


Today is a feast day, one originating in Mexico, and it marks one of the most important dates in the Mexican calendar before the Christmas season officially begins on December 16th with the first "Posada" (a nine day celebration) taking place. On this day, thousands make a pilgrimage and gather at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, where the miraculous image of la "Virgen Morena" is kept, a historical timeline event originating in the year of 1531, and the feast day begins. A fiesta party atmosphere creates a merry day for everyone, a feast day like no other in that country. And it is also a day for many of the faithful to celebrate this feast day all over the world.

The famous event first occurred when a humble peasant named Juan Diego met a lady appearing before, a place where he eventually dropped his tilma where he had hidden fresh roses, and discovered a miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe upon his tilma (or apron) where the flowers once lay. The original tilma of Juan Diego has been preserved under glass at this Basilica ever since. In Mexico, this is a feast day granted in 1754 by Pope Benedict XIV, the day this patronage was approved. The rich symbolism behind this famous painting can be found HERE if you are interested. (Rev. 12:1 and why the symbolism matters)

The image on the original tilma is preserved.

YES this day we celebrate! In years passed it’s usually been with friends and a party complete with a hanging piƱata for the children to hit with a stick, breaking open eventually, resulting in candy flying everywhere for the children to scramble and gather. This is the day we like to eat Mexican food fare, even if it’s only a snack! Today, it’s a snack with our Tostito scoop chips and a fresh salsa to satisfy our love of this international food. There are no Mexican restaurants nearby, so we suffice with the simple. Tonight we have a nice hot homemade soup awaiting our tummies, along with fresh buns for dinner.

Simple snacks were offered and gobbled today.

Crafty children worked like busy bees today, creating a grotto scenery. A grotto is a cave-like opening in a mountainside, not a cave, rather a shallow depth area where shepherds were known to take shelter while out watching their sheep. Eventually, as the shepherds remained for months at a time on the hills where their sheep roamed, they would decorate the grotto like a small chapel and take the opportunity to kneel and pray when the sound of the distant bells summoned them to remember when Sunday came. Most were very pious and holy and soon grottos became a custom throughout Western Europe where villagers would go to rest their weary souls. If a grotto wasn’t nearby, artificial ones appeared, a custom taken with them as many of their ancestry began to immigrate to other lands.

Crafty hands enjoyed making their grotto scene.

Today our little grotto has been constructed with a kit from the talented folks over at Illuminated Ink, using popsicle sticks, glue, precious stones and a colorful scenery to depict the scene in Guadalupe.

As an aside, we reread Tomie dePaola’s book titled; “Our Lady of Guadalupe” today, along with his other book titled; “The Legend of the Poinsettia”.

Books, flowers and a feast day for celebrating.