Festival de Virgin de Guadalupe - Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico (Nelson Nune)
Festivities and processions during the first twelve days of December each year involve tens of thousands of Puerto Vallarta inhabitants and visitors, who pay homage to commemorate the appearance of the Virgin Mary to the peasant Juan Diego on December 12, 1531.
The streets of Puerto Vallarta come alive with traditional parades and other festivities in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The colorful festival combines both ancient Aztec and modern Christian symbolism, with dance groups performing in the streets.
Most of the processions begin or end around the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Town Square in Downtown Puerto Vallarta. This structure is topped with an elaborate crown, said to have been modeled after a tiara worn by the mistress of Emperor Maximilia.
The Guadalupana is a visually rich experience for visitors. Pilgrimages are staged by local families, organizations, neighborhoods, businesses, or any group with a common bond. Each procession is unique and wonderful, with pilgrims singing the praise of Our Lady often to the accompaniment of musicians as they bring gifts to the altar in her honor to Puerto Vallarta's Cathedral, also known as the Church of Our Lady Of Guadalupe. Everyone is expected to pay homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta's revered patron saint.
Streets around the church are lined with patient spectators, waiting for the appearance of their favorite processions. As each procession reaches the church, bells ring out. The number of pilgrimages intensifies as the celebration continues until the last few days when they fill as many as 20 hours in a day. The celebration spreads across the Plaza with a grand finale of fireworks.
Baptisms, confirmations, first holy communions and even weddings take place within the local community to coincide with this special and blessed date. Fireworks decorate and light up the skies, folk dance groups perform, traditional parades entertain the crowds, people sing hymns and songs of praise in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and the central plaza is filled to the brim with street vendors selling fruits, food, local products and other specialties.
If you are in Puerto Vallarta the first part of December, you won't want to miss this lively and fun festival.
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