Juan Dieguita Appears Before the Virgen de Guadalupe December 12 2010

We celebrated the Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe -- the day that the blessed Virgen appeared to the peasant indigena Juan Diego in 1531 in Tepeyac, Mexico -- this weekend by going to a dedicated mass at the BIG CHURCH, the basilica here in DC. It was the toddler K's first cross-dressing experience as she went dressed as Juan Dieguito with a mini-peasant outfit. We dubbed her Juan Dieguita. I guess I could've dressed her up as an angel, but eh, if you're gonna dress up, JD is the way to go.  I did see a few boys dressed up as angels -- something you don't usually see either. Hey, we're equal opportunity.

The basilica has dozens of uniquely-designed shrines in it dedicated to the various Virgenes from across the globe, including one dedicated to la Emperatriz de las Americas. It's a small shrine, but the mosaic tile detail in it is unbelievably beautiful. I took the toddler K to leave red roses at the foot of the shrine after the mass was over. Of course, she tried to wrestle the flowers away from me and wanted to pluck the buds instead. She spent the entire mass walking form shrine to shrine with her father, saying "Bye, bye!" to all the Virgenes that has their hands raised in the air in an Alleluia pose. Oh, and pointing out all the "babies" in their arms.

The church in my home town is Our Lady of Guadalupe, so this is a celebration I've been going to for years. Back home, the OLG celebrations are full-on fiestas with dancers, mariachis, tamales y chocolate. This mass was definitely more formal and serious (very DC). There was a procession beforehand and a re-enactment of Juan Diego going up to the altar. And there were mariachis, but in the humongous echo chamber of the basilica they felt really drowned out. And folks weren't really piping up in singing Las Mananitas. But you best believe I did. I love this song:

Estas son las mañanitas que cantaba el rey David/ Hoy por ser día de tu santo te las cantamos aquí./ Despierta mi bien despierta/ Mira que ya amaneció/ Ya los pajaritos cantan/ La luna ya se metió.