Oaxaca is preparing for Christmas and on December 12 celebrates Our Lady of Guadalupe Day.
Preparing for Christmas in Oaxaca
OK … it seems a bit strange seeing Christmas themed decorations in Oaxaca when it gets up to 30 C on some days. Especially when bands start playing I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas! But Christmas is everywhere here. The Zocalo is being decorated with poinsettias, nativity scenes, a huge Christmas tree and even an ice skating rink!
My rear tire had a shank in it and I was afraid that as the rubber wore down it would push the shank in further and puncture the tire.
My landlord at my Airbnb recommended a motorcycle mechanic shop where they worked on large motorcycles like mine. So that is where I took it.
After a hour and a half I picked it up. They had removed the shank and had washed the bike too. Bonus! I’m not sure if they should have put something in the small slit left behind or not. I am not a mechanic at all so I don’t really know. Because I no little about mechanics I make sure my bike is checked over often for any potential problems.
So as I left the shop my tire warning light started flashing. My rear tire had low pressure and my front tire was borderline. I guessed that they probably lowered the pressure to make it easier to get the shank out and didn’t put the air back in. At least that is what I hoped.
Rather than go back I headed off to the nearest Pemex gas station for air.
Now I’ll see if there is a leak or not. Good thing I have another month and a bit here to make sure it is good.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Day
December 12 and the days around it are big days for the religious community in Mexico.
According to Wikipedia
Official Catholic accounts state that the Virgin Mary appeared four times before Juan Diego and one more before Juan Diego’s uncle. According to these accounts the first apparition occurred on the morning of December 9, 1531, when a native Mexican peasant named Juan Diego saw a vision of a maiden at a place called the Hill of Tepeyac, which would become part of Villa de Guadalupe, a suburb of Mexico City. Speaking to Juan Diego in his native Nahuatl language (the language of the Aztec empire), the maiden identified herself as the Virgin Mary, “mother of the very true deity”and asked for a church to be built at that site in her honor.
Based on her words, Juan Diego then sought out the archbishop of Mexico City, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, to tell him what had happened. As the bishop did not believe Diego, on the same day, Juan Diego saw the Virgin Mary for a second time (the second apparition); she asked him to keep insisting.
On Sunday, December 10, Juan Diego talked to the archbishop for a second time. The latter instructed him to return to Tepeyac Hill, and ask the lady for a miraculous sign to prove her identity. That same day the third apparition occurred when Diego returned to Tepeyac and, encountering the Virgin Mary reported the bishop’s request for a sign; she consented to provide one on the following day (December 11).
By Monday, December 11, however, Juan Diego’s uncle Juan Bernardino had fallen sick and Juan Diego was obliged to attend to him. In the very early hours of Tuesday, December 12, Juan Bernardino’s condition having deteriorated overnight, Juan Diego set out to Tlatelolco to fetch a priest to hear Juan Bernardino’s confession and minister to him on his death-bed.
In order to avoid being delayed by the Virgin and ashamed at having failed to meet her on the Monday as agreed, Juan Diego chose another route around the hill, but the Virgin intercepted him and asked where he was going (fourth apparition); Juan Diego explained what had happened and the Virgin gently chided him for not having had recourse to her. In the words which have become the most famous phrase of the Guadalupe event and are inscribed over the main entrance to the Basilica of Guadalupe, she asked, “¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?” (Am I not here, I who am your mother?). She assured him that Juan Bernardino had now recovered and she told him to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, which was normally barren, especially in December. Juan followed her instructions and he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming there. The Virgin arranged the flowers in Juan’s tilma, or cloak, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak before archbishop Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
The next day, on December 13, Juan Diego found his uncle fully recovered, as the Virgin had assured him, and Juan Bernardino recounted that he too had seen her, at his bed-side (fifth apparition); that she had instructed him to inform the bishop of this apparition and of his miraculous cure; and that she had told him she desired to be known under the title of Guadalupe.
Sanctuary of Guadalupe
So on December 12 I went to the Sanctuary of Guadalupe in Oaxaca to witness the celebrations.
The park outside the Sanctuary was filled with rides! It was difficult to find the Sanctuary through the maze. When I got there, there was a long line to enter the Sanctuary to take part in successive masses being held.
I didn’t want to participate in the mass, only to sneak a picture and experience a few minutes of it. So I snuck in through the exit.
Right around the sanctuary were a lot of displays of the Virgin of Guadalupe where people would have their picture taken.
My timing was great as I saw a procession was about to start. I followed it through the streets around the Sanctuary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Solitude
On the way home I pass the Basilica of Our Lady of Solitude. I could hear a band playing and figured a celebration was taking place there as well. I was right. Fireworks were being lit, food was being served and a band was playing.
Always lots happening in Oaxaca 🙂