Once I tell you about her, you’ll start to see her everywhere.
She is the Virgen of Guadalupe, and protects all Mexicans. She belongs, of course, to the catholic religion, but Mexicans who aren’t catholic adore her too.
I guarantee you will see her beautiful image wherever you see someone from Mexico. In the corner restaurant (behind the cash register), a cab (hanging from the rearview mirror), the gas station, a picture over the doorframe, a small gold medal hanging around someone’s neck. You’ll see her in a small shrine at the side of the road, on a screensaver, even on someone’s bicep, in a full color tattoo.
The Virgen of Guadalupe is the mother of all Mexicans. She is often called a Queen. You will, in fact, occasionally see her depicted with a crown, but I don’t think she likes that, as she’s the Virgin of the people. Her favorite flowers are roses.
The first time she appeared, in a miracle officially recognized by the Vatican in 1745, she did so in a cloak that you can see today, protected between two panes of bullet-proof glass, in a church built especially for her. This basilica was erected in Tepeyac, originally a site of an Aztec temple dedicated to Tonatzin (Earth goddess, mother of the gods and protector of humanity). Today, this Basilica is the most visited Catholic Church in the world, next to the Vatican.
The Virgen of Guadalupe is one of the factors that made possible the assimilation of the Aztec and the Spanish cultures, quite possibly the reason why I’m in the world today.
Today, December 12, is her birthday. Millions of faithful gather for processions, prayers, songs, dances, and fireworks to honor "La Madre de México". If you want, you can buy red or pink roses and put them at the foot of anywhere you see her image. Or, even where you don’t. She’ll know they are for her.