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Guadalupanos Return for Annual Processions

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 03 December, 2010

(Acapulco, AN 3 December) Each year, as a prologue to Acapulco’s high tourist season, the first days of December are filled with late afternoon processions in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron of Mexico. This year is no exception. For a week or more now, Acapulco will be the backdrop for daily marches as acts of religious devotion.

The official saint’s day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is December 12, but pilgrims, known as “guadalupanos,” begin organizing processions as early as December 1. For several days leading up to December 12, long lines of the faithful, often numbering in the hundreds, can be seen processing up and down the main corridors of Acapulco, carrying images of the Virgin, flowers, and other items of personal devotion.

The processions usually occupy one whole traffic lane. If that is all there is for vehicles, then the cars will just have to wait until the procession passes. Processions typically start in residential neighborhoods and proceed to a church, most often the large Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, on Avenida Universidad. The pilgrimages can indeed proceed for many miles and take several hours.

The less devout and more hurried elements of the local population generally take note of the annual guadalupano parades and try to plan their travel routes to avoid the inevitable traffic tie-ups. This is not always easy, as pilgrimage routes are often unpredictable.

After December 12, the devout next turn to “posadas,” the pre-Christmas practice whereby neighbors and families come together in each others’ homes to erect nativity scenes and get ready for Christmas. Often children gather ahead of time to reenact the arrival of Mary and Joseph at the inn, looking for lodging, or the searching of the shepherds to find the exact location of the nativity. They then process to the house designated as the posada, or inn, for that evening. “Posadas” usually runs from December 16 for nine nights to December 24.

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