85,000 people made the pilgrimage to the Church Our Lady of Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta during this year’s Nuestra Seniora de Guadalupe, or Festival of Guadalupe.
The festival begins each year on December 1 and continues through December 12 and marks the celebration of the Virgin Mary, Nuestra Seniora de Guadalupe, revealing herself to Juan Diego at the Hill of Tepeyac, now part of Mexico City.
The festival brings thousands of people from around the area to Puerto Vallarta where the Patron Saint and city’s main church is the Lady of Guadalupe.
On December 9, 1531, by Catholic accounts, a Native American peasant named Juan Diego came across a vision of a woman who he described as the Virgin Mary. The woman told Juan Diego to build a church at that site. Diego returned to Mexico City to seek out the archbishop to tell him what he had witnessed. The archbishop asked Diego to return to the lady and prove her identity.
Upon returning to Hill of Tepeyac, where Diego first encountered the vision, he asked her to prove her identity through a miraculous act. The first act was to heal Diego’s uncle, and the second act was her request for Diego to gather flowers from Tepeyac, which typically would be barren in December. When Diego made it to the top of the hill he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming there.
Diego gathered the flowers and put them in his coat and rushed back to the archbishop to show him what he had found. When Diego opened his coat the flowers fell to the floor revealing the image of the Virgin Mary stained in the lining of his coat.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City was built at the site of Diego’s vision and is the most visited Catholic site in the world, and the third-most visited sacred site in the world.
The festival is celebrated around the country, and this year in Puerto Vallarta the festival brought over 185 pilgrimages winding through the city to make their way to the church with their offerings to the Lady of Guadalupe altar.