A note from Pat on the importance of this religious and cultural tradition for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans:
Feast days are like birthdays or anniversaries. They are occasions to remember an event in the past and sometimes to honor someone. Recently, I saw a program that showed images of processions and celebrations on Dec. 12 as the beginning of the holiday season in the Southwest that for Catholics ends on Jan. 6th, the Feast of the Three Kings or Epiphany. Along with the Mexican flag, Our Lady is a symbol of Mexican independence and pride, and a symbol for social justice groups throughout the Americas. People from diverse backgrounds are drawn to this image and story that are so central to the history and culture of Mexico and Mexican-Americans.
Our Lady’s image is in car repair shops, bakeries and restaurants. She has been the subject of fine art, popular art, and in pop-culture: on mouse pads, tattoos, T-shirts. She’s with the people. Our Lady of Guadalupe is a comforting protectoress who doesn’t discriminate.