Our Lady of Guadalupe, also called the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe or Virgen de Guadalupe) is a 16th century Roman CatholicMexican icon representing an apparition of the Virgin Mary. It is perhaps Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image. Guadalupe’s feast day is celebrated on December 12, commemorating the traditional account of her appearances to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City from December 9, 1531 throughDecember 12, 1531.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is a symbol of significant importance to Catholics. Mainstream Catholics believe that Guadalupe was a manifestation of the Virgin Mary in theAmericas and recognize her as “Empress of the Americas.” The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the second most visited Roman Catholic shrine in the world.
The Virgin of Guadalupe has also symbolized the Mexican nation since Mexico’s War of Independence. Both Miguel Hidalgo and Emiliano Zapata‘s armies traveled underneath Guadalupan flags, and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is generally recognized as a symbol of all Mexicans. The Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes once said that “…one may no longer consider himself a Christian, but you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe.”