Virgin of Guadalupe Celebrations in La Antigua Guatemala

Gringa Mama Taking the Pictures

In La Antigua Guatemala, religious celebrations draw together all kinds of heterogeneous people and the feast day of Virgin of Guadalupe is no exception. In the day of La Virgen de Guadalupe, Our Lady of Guadalupe, you can find gringa mamas, indigenous mamas, ladino mamas and white mamas all taking their children dressed with indigenous clothes to visit the altar of La Virgen Morena. In many cases you have grandmas and the whole family taking part of the visit to Virgin of Guadalupe inside Iglesia de la Merced.

Carmen and Monolo must’ve been thinking of the incredible power of the sense of smell to detonate nostalgic memories, quite possibly inspired or influenced by Patrick Süskind masterpiece Das Parfum (Perfume). I lived such an experience today while taking the shots that you can see below in the slide show, as I was bombarded with the scents of pine needles, firecracker’s polvora (powder), fruits, traditional Guatemalan Christmas foods (do you see a new series coming up?), incense, candles, on and on. My sense of smell was in shock and my memories were flowing incessantly. But before I bore you with such descriptions, I leave you with a slide show and a video clip of the Virgin of Guadalupe celebrations in La Antigua Guatemala so you can get an idea. You will be missing the smells though.

Please, let me know your impressions of the photos and video clip as well as how is The Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrated in your neck of the woods?

Slide show of the Virgin of Guadalupe celebrations in La Antigua Guatemala

Video clip of the Virgin of Guadalupe celebrations in La Antigua Guatemala

© 2007 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Two main differences with the character from Suskind’s masterpiece: I do smell (sometimes I even stink) and I cannot foresee myself becoming a serial killer any time soon…
    Beautiful pictures by the way, a feast for the eyes!

  • Ah, for a very nice description in English of the event and celebration you can read this nice post on one of my recently discovered blogs from a new blog friend…

  • What a pleasant surprise to see myself and my daughter here 🙂

  • JC

    I like the expression of the little girl in this photo!
    And your photos are so colourful. It gives me an introduction to Guatemala! Love it!

  • sompopo

    I love the slide show and video. Of course its not like being there. 🙂

  • Rudy, thanx for this pictures they remind me when my mom used to dress me with my mayan clothes when i was kid on dec. 12. You choked me up with this pictures.


  • What a cuuuute!!! Thank you for the slide show, cause I was trying to look for something in the internet about that. I would like to show my husband how we celebrate this beautiful day.

    Thanks again!

  • La Virgen de Guadalupe! I like the slideshow! Oh man, that little kid crying in the picture, the lady lighting a candle(s), the people, and all the different colors bring to mind my early childhood…sigh… my mom took my sisters and I to a church (I don’t know where, but I think it was in la Zona 1) and we were dressed with guipiles and I especially remember the crowds of people. In that video you are sharing, is that lady saying “Torrejas! Torrejas!”??? I so want one. I could have sworn that’s what she was selling. (Sniff, sniff). Thank you Rudy for sharing with us. :-)And now to answer your question. Here, every church has its own way of celebrating, but the one common theme (I find) is Las Ma~nanitas. All the folks gather, including a Mariachi (if one is available), they people have the Padre in front of the multitude, and they all sing Las Ma~nanitas to the Virgin of Guadalupe. My mom wanted to go to a nearby church and serenade La Virgencita with the community. After the singing, the prayers, and the exchange of hugs, they have Mariachi music (have you been to a Mass with Mariachi? It’s truly amazing), chocolate caliente, and pan dulce from what I heard (I have not gone with her). She later told me they didn’t go because it was just way too cold. In the 30s (F) if I am not mistaken. She was sad to say the least so she turned on her TV for the live coverage from Mexico. When I was a kid though, such dates as this one called for a road trip. It didn’t matter how far you lived, your nationality didn’t matter, and although Spanish was our common language there were Vietnamese and Filipinos present as well, we would all head to La Placita Olvera in Los Angeles (the epicenter of many if not all Immigrant/Newcomer celebrations in the 80s [and even today]). When I say we, I am talking about lots and lots of people. I remember the church being completely full and there were people outside too…speakers had to be placed in the courtyard so everyone could hear.

  • coltrane_lives

    Wonderful slide show of a beautiful event with beautiful people. Thanks Rudy for this amazing array of color and and life and soul. Hope to be traveling to La Antigua in mid to late January.

  • Manolo, I am glad you mention the stinking part. I’ll make sure I carry a deodorant next time we meet up. 🙂 BTW, thanks for filling in with the links.

    Erinberry, see I was the guy stalking you all afternoon with the camera in hand like a paparazzi. 😉 Now, tell me if Jesus was not a Republican, what was he?

    JC, you mean the Erinberry’s Asucen@ or the little girl in the slide show?

    Sompopo, so what are you waiting for to visit Guatemala… Honest, you will be treated nicely in Guatemala, even if you decide to over stay your visa and work without documents. 🙂

    Javier, I am glad to be of service.

    Chachi, what happened? I kept on waiting on those stories you were going to send me by email?

    Carmen, so you asked for torrejas and you got torrejas.

    Coltrane_lives, I hope to see then. Make sure you look me up.

  • I love the photo at the top; the Lupita icongraphy is very strong – I remember seeing it everywhere when I was in Guatemala and Mexico

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  • In preparation for her upcoming day on December 12, here’s a quick post about how Guadalupe is honored in our little piece of Pacific coast paradise in Zihuatanejo Mexico – Our Lady of Guadalupe is Mexico’s patron saint and extremely important to all. Those smells are all prevalent here, too, in the market and the food stalls.

    Thanks for your post on the Guatemalan tradition – I’m hoping to made it down there one day soon…I got stuck in Mexico for a few decades…

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