Virgin de Zapopan

This morning Adolfo and I got up at 4:30 in the morning to go to mass.

I know this is not the sentence you were expecting to read when you opened this site, but there you have it. We may have gone to mass with one and a half million people, but it is kind of hard to count when it’s 5 am.

Adolfo’s students are doing a project on the Romeria for the Virgin of Zapopan. So, I went with them and we caught the last half of mass, in the plaza across from the entrance to the cathedral. The square was packed, and silent – because we were in mass – and the venders were quiet, it was really dark, and it was really fascinating.

The cardinal was giving mass on a microphone that was loud enough for us to hear in the plaza and follow along, and we could also hear some of the drummers in an adjacent square for the estimated 600 aztec dancers.

Once mass ended, the Virgin-mobile started up (on what sounded like a lawnmower engine), the bells of the cathedral started to ring (we could see the guys ringing them!), the church-goers were singing, the drummers upped the volume and the party began. This pilgrimage is a celebration because the Virgin is returning to her home at the Basilica in Zapopan.

We saw the VIPs leaving mass (including the Governor of Jalisco who was mobbed by photographers as he left). The Virgin’s body-guards assembled and the Cardinal came out under heavy security to check out the Virgin before they started the pilgrimage. The heavy security was probably due to two things, during the independence day celebrations last month there was an attack in a public square in Morelia (which is in a neighboring state), and Adolfo told me that the previous Cardinal was assassinated. So, there were lots of serious-looking guys in suits who appeared to not be paying any attention to the Virgin.

Once the pilgrimage starts, the Virgin takes off pretty fast and the Cardinal and his companions start walking at a pretty good clip. Then everyone in the plaza starts moving toward the street and the media says about 3 million people walk with the Virgin to Zapopan (about 8 km). We, however, went looking for breakfast.

Which sadly we did not find – apparently 7 am on a Sunday is not a good time to look for a snack. Also, many businesses close today for observing the Virgin’s day. So instead, as the sun was coming up this morning, we went back to bed. At 11am when we got up for the second time this morning, we made eggs with chorizo and potatoes.

One Response to “Virgin de Zapopan”

  1. John G Says:

    A couple of moments in my travels stand out like this, Della. This is truly one of those special, stolen moments you’ll remember for a long, long time. The smells. The sounds. The entire atmosphere. How special! JGW

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