An event nearly five centuries ago from which Guadalupe took its name will be celebrated in two phases — first today as a municipal and cultural event, then Friday through Sunday as a religious Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, organized by the community’s Catholic parish.
Today, the town and Accion Integrated Marketing will hold Festival de Guadalupe in its Mercado courtyard at Guadalupe Road and Avenida Del Yaqui. It will feature traditional Mexican music and dancing, food booths, arts and crafts, and the sale of religious items.
Mayor Vinicio Alvarez will host what is being called the Eve of the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe celebration.
Activities will be 6 to 10 p.m., followed by "Mexican fireworks" at 10 p.m. and a community rosary at 10:15 p.m.
"This is the first year that the town is actually doing something and inviting the greater Phoenix community," said Norma Armenta, a town spokeswoman.
Today’s events will have a "festival environment" versus the "more intimate, more private and more religiously based events" of the weekend centered around the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Armenta said.
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe falls on Dec. 12 each year to recall events in December 1531 when a baptized Indian, Juan Diego, was crossing a barren hill called Tepeyac near Mexico City. Diego said he saw a vision of the Virgin Mary, who asked him to deliver a wish to have a church built there where the suffering could come to her.
When he went to the bishop, Diego was asked for proof.
It is said that Mary appeared again on the hill, instructed him to deliver roses from the barren land to the bishop.
When Diego arrived with the roses, they spilled out, leaving the image of a dark, native Virgin emblazoned on Diego’s coat.
The parish will have a Mass at 6 p.m. Friday at Santa Lucia Temple. The faithful will gather at the town’s hill, or lomita, at 5 a.m. Saturday where a Mass will be held at noon.
Participants will go in procession, beginning at 3 p.m., from the hill to the church, 5445 San Angelo St., for a Mass at 6 p.m. It will be followed by a fiesta of dancing and music.
On Sunday, a procession will start at 10 a.m. at the church and end at Santa Lucia Temple.