Category Archives: Uncategorized

La Virgencita or Virgin Mary’s First Feast Day in 2012

Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Basilica of La Villa

Happy New Year! Although faith seems intangible, it can actually be felt at the Basilica of Guadalupe as thousands of people visit the grounds today (and everyday for that matter). January 1st marks the first major liturgical celebration of the Virgin Mary on the Roman Catholic calendar. The Church celebrates the 8th day of Christmas by commemorating Mary’s motherhood of Jesus. And since the Basilica of Guadalupe is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, special Masses are being held there as well as at other Catholic churches today.

Candles are only permitted outside the Basilica for safety reasons

Watching people crawling on their knees, bearing armloads full of flowers, carrying heavy religious statues, lighting row after row of candles, walking kilometers in the name of the Virgin is an impressive site for believers and non-believers alike. Whether the Virgin truly appeared to mazehual Indian Saint Juan Diego 481 years ago or not is irrelevant.

The new Basilica reminiscent of a tent in the desert

Her daily miracle is that of keeping generations of Mexicans going, and weaving a sense of unity in a country splintered by marked socio-economic and cultural differences. Mexico is home to the wealthiest man in the world (Carlos Slim), yet children still die in the countryside from diarrhea; the far-right and the far-left clash verbally, and often physically, on a daily basis; 22 million people vie for space and time in the chaotic capital city. Dozens of indigenous and European languages mix in this urban sphere. Without a doubt, the Virgin is the sole force that unites the Mexican people, rural or urban, rich or poor, liberal or conservative, autoctonous or European. Her existence goes unchallenged even in 2012.

The faithful come from near and far, frequently filling the 10 thousand seat capacity

The grounds of La Villa of Maria de Guadalupe are complex, dotted with buildings of varying ages, some dating back to the 16th century, others unfinished. It is an ongoing project.  There are excellent examples of baroque architecture and paintings as well as modern-day solutions to bear the burden of overwhelming crowds. 

The original Basilica which is slowly, and unevenly, sinking into the swamp land it was built on

Stay tuned … tomorrow we will visit the most important buildings at the shrine.


Welcome to Mexican Museums and Mavens!

I’ve lived in Mexico for many decades and have seen major changes in this exciting city.  It is purported that Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that were true.  Of course Mexicans love to break records (such as hosting the greatest number of Michael Jackson imitators in one place, the largest tamal in the world, the biggest outdoor ice skating rink, etc., as verified by Guinness Book of World Records), but whether this is a truism or not in the case of museums, my blog – Mexican Museums and Mavens –  has as its goal to explore the many museums scattered around the metropolitan area, as well as reporting on cultural activities and the fascinating people who make them happen.  Focusing on the positive things happening in the D.F. (there is too much negative publicity on the city and country in newspapers, radios and tvs everywhere), I hope to share with you  all sorts of amazing spots I have personally visited – temporary and permanent exhibits and museums, archaeological zones, cultural centers, lesser visited sites about town, ongoing activities, everything related to culture in the Big Enchilada – a mix of information and opinion to help you better get to know one of the most populous cities in the world.

Note about the name of my blog: So you’re asking yourself, what in the world is a maven?  According to the dictionary, a maven (often spelled as mavin, since it is the transliteration of a Yiddish word) is a “trusted expert in a particular field who seeks to pass knowledge to others.”  Thus, I have chosen not only to write about museums dotting the urban horizon of Mexico City, but also about the many people (contemporary and long gone) who make the capital city and Mexican culture what it is today.


Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Uncategorized