Extracted from a Washington Post article:
<On Dec. 9, 1531, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared in a vision to an Indian peasant, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, on a hill north of the ruined Aztec capital, where the basilica stands today. According to accounts, the apparition spoke to Juan Diego in Nahuatl, an Indian language still used in parts of Mexico. When the Spanish bishop asked for proof of the encounter, Juan Diego gathered roses on the hill. As he presented them to the bishop, the image of the Virgin miraculously appeared on his tilma, a kind of traditional cloak fastened at the shoulder with a knot.
The novelist Carlos Fuentes said, “You cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe.”
Nobel laureate Octavio Paz wrote that if the macho in Mexican society is represented by the conquistador, then the Virgin “is the consolation of the poor, the shield of the weak, the help of the oppressed.”
At a time when the tremors of global recession are spreading from the United States to Mexico, where workers in assembly plants and farm fields provide auto parts and winter tomatoes for American consumption, many of the 5 million people who stood in line for hours to enter the basilica in Mexico City said they would ask the Virgin of Guadalupe to watch over their wallets and keep them filled with pesos, even these weaker pesos.>
There were not nearly as many people who lined up in Oaxaca, but Llano Park, across the street from the Virgin of Guadalupe Church was filled with revelers yesterday waiting their turn to kiss the feet of the statue of the virgin…their little children dressed up like Juan Diego begging for treats from the many stalls and rides at the carnival in the street. Nuns were selling homemade Rompopo, a kind of eggnoggy drink made with eggs and rum that is also popular in Honduras and Guatemala at Christmas time. I am told that locally ground almonds, or almond cream is added here in Oaxaca. Rockets and fireworks have been going off continuously day and night. The Zocalo is lit up with white Christmas lights. This is Mexico.