The holiday season in Mexico is full of family celebrations and colorful decorations, and of all the Puerto Vallarta festivals 2019 has, the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the biggest. Celebrated throughout the country on the days leading up to December 12, this festival honors the Virgin Mary and her role in Mexican culture. Beginning on December 1st, communities from around the region come together, filling each night with music and laughter. Puerto Vallarta is one of the best places to celebrate under the light of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the famous cathedral along the Malecon boardwalk. If you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta this winter, you won’t want to miss out on these 12 days of lively festival and events.
The history of the Virgin de Guadalupe begins in 1531 outside Mexico City when the Virgin Mary appeared to a young peasant boy named Juan Diego, speaking in his native Nahuatl language. With her encouragement, the young Juan convinced the archbishop of Mexico City to build a church on the Hill of Tepeyac. The persuading point for the archbishop was when the image of the Virgin appeared inside the cloak of Juan Diego. Over time, richer and more elaborate shrines were built on the hill, and today, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a major pilgrimage site in the suburbs of Mexico City. Its most famous relic is Juan Diego’s cloak, on which you can still see the Virgin Mary’s image.
December 12 is the date when Juan Deigo’s cloak appeared with the image of the Lady of Guadalupe before the archbishop, and today, it’s the date for the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Like most festival and events in Mexico, this holiday is stretched over several days, beginning on December 1. Throughout the country, pilgrims make their way to cathedrals, some even traveling to the Hill of Tepeyac to honor the Virgin Mary.
For one of the biggest Puerto Vallarta festivals 2019 has, the celebration begins at the Woolworth store on Juarez street and stretches to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Down the cobblestone street, families, churches, schools, unions, businesses, and community organizations form a processional for the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Traditional dancers and mariachi bands march along, making this pilgrimage a joyful celebration of culture. Vendors on the side of the road serve hot street food and sell toys for children while fireworks shoot off overhead. On the final night, December 12, the procession ends at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a special mass to honor the Virgin Mary. The faith and love of the Mexican people are infectious, and if you’re going to attend any of the Puerto Vallarta festivals 2019 has, this is the one that will fill your heart with joy and hope. December 12 is also the anniversary of the founding of Puerto Vallarta, making it an especially auspicious day to visit the city.
When it comes to traditional festival and events, Mexico is known for lively and vibrant celebrations. The Virgin of Guadalupe is iconic in Mexico and dearly loved in the hearts of many. Regardless of religious background, all are welcome to come and watch the processionals on the first 12 nights of December, celebrating the hope, joy, and culture of Mexico.