Mary’s birthday celebration

Main piece: 

The following was transcribed from a conversation between the informant and interviewer. 

Informant: On the 12th of December, all Hispanics, especially Mexicans pay their promises in virtue of La Virgen de Guadalupe. They go to her church, the basilica in the capital. They bring her flowers, candles and walk from their homes all the way to the church. 

Interviewer: Wait. They walk? How long do they walk? 

Informant: There’s people who walk for days or even a full month. For example, there’s people who travel from Tijuana all the way to the capital by foot. When they get there, they attend mass, give thanks… but they have to arrive on the 12 because that was the day she was born and they sing “Las mananitas” in her honor. 

Interviewer: For how long do they sing? 

Informant: They sing  all night, from the 11th, they start the serenate and mariachis and music artists and chorus… and umm and on the 12 all day they interchange and they keep singing to her and then on the 13 everyone goes back home. 

Background: My grandpa was my informant. He was born and raised in Guadalajara and did not travel to the U.S. until a couple years ago. He has lived in Mexico for about 70 years so he knows of a lot of Mexican traditions. The capital is 30 minutes from his home in Mexico so he participates in the annual tradition. 

Context: This was the same setting as the other tradition he told me about. I had just finished playing basketball and I was taking a break on the patio. I asked my grandpa for some traditions he keeps up with and after telling me about the day of the dead, he told me about this one. Casual setting. 

Thoughts: I found it cool that this a tradition that all Hispanic Catholics perform. So it’s something that unites people from North and South America. It’s a really special and important day where people walk and sing for days to praise Mary and her blessings. It shows people are faithful and grateful and I personally feel we need more of those 2 virtues on a global scale.