Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Inside Mexico's Festivals

In the lead up to the day, there’s a week of celebration throughout Mexico, with thousands of pilgrims travelling to a Basílica in Mexico City where the miracle maker was once seen.

Photo © iStock/MikeyLPT


Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico


12th December


Our Lady of Guadalupe (or the Virgin Mary) is no ordinary heavenly being. In 1531 she appeared four times to an indigenous Christian convert, Juan Diego, on Cerro del Tepeyac (Tepeyac Hill). Over the centuries she’s been credited with all manner of miracles, and has become Mexico’s patron saint. Little wonder her big day is considered such a big deal.

In the lead up to the day, which is a national holiday in Mexico, there’s a week of celebration throughout the country, with tens of thousands of pilgrims travelling to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the site of her appearances – some pilgrims cover the last few metres on their knees in supplication.

If it sounds sombre, it’s actually rather a festive occasion (so long as you’re not the one on your knees). Pilgrims carry flowers for the lady of the moment, and in the plaza outside there’s a street fair with food, crafts and dancing.

Level of Participation

4 – take the pilgrimage, or just enjoy the street fair.


An easy way to reach the basilica from Mexico City is to take the metro to La Villa-Basílica station, then walk two blocks north along Calz de Guadalupe.

Other Local Attractions

Inside the basilica, the image of the Virgin hangs above and behind the main altar; there are moving walkways to get you as close as possible.

More Info: Visit Mexico

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