Sunday, May 5, 2013

Feliz Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, Spanish for "fifth of May", is celebrated in the United States and regionally in Mexico, where the holiday is called El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla). It originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War, and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.

To celebrate another important part of Mexican heritage, please vist my CafePress Shop, and check out La Virgen de Guadalupe, part of the "Simly Divine" series. La Virgen de Guadalupe is Mexico's most popular religious and cultural image, bearing the titles of the Queen of Mexico, Patroness of the Americas, and Empress of Latin America.

Simply Divine: La Virgen de Guadalupe
La Virgen de Guadalupe
According to official Catholic accounts of the Guadalupan apparitions, during a walk from his home village to Mexico City early on the morning of December 9, 1531, Juan Diego saw a vision of a young girl of fifteen to sixteen, surrounded by light. This event occurred on the slopes of the Hill of Tepeyac. Speaking in the local language of Nahuatl, the Lady asked for a church to be built at that site in her honor. From her words, Juan Diego recognized her as the Virgin Mary. When he told his story to the Spanish bishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, the bishop asked him to return and ask the lady for a miraculous sign to prove her claim. The Virgin then asked Juan Diego to gather some flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, even though it was winter when no flowers bloomed. There, he found Castilian roses,which were of the Bishop's native home, but not indigenous to Tepeyac. He gathered them, and the Virgin herself re-arranged them in his tilma, or peasant's cloak. When Juan Diego presented the roses to Zumárraga, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe miraculously appeared imprinted on the cloth of Diego's tilma.

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