10 Things you don't know about La Virgen de Guadalupe
Today is the Day of La Virgen de Guadalupe. As the legend goes, La Virgen appeared for the first time on December 9, 1531 to Juan Diego on the top of a hill and she was surrounded by light. Ever since that day and up until today, la Virgen Morena, as she is known, is full of mysteries and miracles that not even science has been able to explain. Read on to find out 10 amazing things about la Virgen that I'm sure you had never heard.
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1. It's believed that when la Virgen de Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego on the top of Tepeyac Hill, the young woman spoke Nahuatl, the indigenous language, to him, and told him to build her temple on the same hill. That hill was also used by the Aztecs to worship their goddess Tonatzin.
2. Tonatzin means "our mother," which is why the message from la Virgen was more easily received by the indigenous people who started to revere her as their mother.
3. The cloak that belonged to Juan Diego and on which the image of the Virgin later appeared is made of maguey fibre, which is why the image, under normal conditions, wouldn't last more than 20 or 30 years. The image is more than 500 years old and still as vibrant as on the day of the apparition.
4. The cloak's temperature inexplicably remains at around 97.8°F, the same temperature a live body maintains.
5. In1938, Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry Richard Kuhn tried to find out how the cloak with the Virgen de Guadalupe's image was painted. He discovered though that the paint was not made with colors with organic or mineral elements. In 1531, synthetic coloring didn't exist. He was never able to explain how the image was painted.
6. There are more altars to dedicated to la Virgen de Guadalupe in Mexico than crosses and her image has become so synonymous with our culture that it now represents our mestizo origins, and by extension all of Mexico. Her image is everywhere, even in pop culture: on taxis in the form of stickers, tattoos, and even key chains.
7. Days before her day, hundreds of thousands of people descend on Mexico City as part of giant pilgrimages to worship the cloak of the Virgen de Guadalupe that's in the city's Basilica.
8. The Virgen de Guadalupe is pregnant in the image.
9. The eyes of the Virgen in the image have been studied recently and it's been determined that there are two microscopic images inside her pupils. One depicts when Juan Diego opens up the cloak in front of the Bishop and roses not indigenous to the area fall out and reveal her image (as part of the sign that the Virgen gave to prove herself to Juan Diego). The other image is of an indigenous family.
10. The images inside the Virgen Morena's cornea add up to 13 people total.
See this video and find out more mysteries surrounding our Virgen de Guadalupe: