Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration held in Walnut Park marks anniversary of 1531 apparition

Jaysha Patel Image
Tuesday, December 12, 2023
Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations held in SoCal
Communities throughout Southern California held Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations to honor the virgin on the 492th anniversary of her apparition in 1531.

WALNUT PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- Walnut Park was among the communities worldwide holding Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations Tuesday to honor the virgin on the 492th anniversary of her apparition in 1531.

The festivities got underway in the morning at Plaza La Alameda, including performances by a mariachi band and an hourlong theatrical play that reenacted the event considered sacred by the Roman Catholic Church.

According to church tradition, in 1531 the dark-skinned virgin appeared to the Indigenous peasant Juan Diego and her image was imprinted on his cloak, which is on display inside Mexico City's Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Juan Diego was made a saint in 2002 by Saint John Paul II.

Traditionally, those who have asked for help from the Virgin of Guadalupe with life problems visit the Basilica in a sign of appreciation, sometimes traveling the last stretch to the church barefoot or on their knees.

In Walnut Park on Tuesday, the celebration continued with afternoon events.

"It's important because it's something that the community has been asking for," said Itayetzi Angeles, a marketing coordinator for Primestor Development. "They've been asking for more events that are more involved with tradition and culture, so we want to bring this out to them."

In Mexico City on Tuesday, thousands of people sang the traditional Mexican birthday song "Las mañanitas" at the Basilica.

Authorities estimated that over five million faithful visited the church during the days leading up to the annual celebration of the country's patroness.

Many had walked from distant villages, others had ridden bicycles or buses to reach the Basilica's enormous patio, where a sea of tents held pilgrims who had slept overnight to greet the virgin in the morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.