Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - So much of what you are able to experience in a destination comes down to the timing of your visit, and the first 12 days of December is the perfect time to be in Mexico as cities across the country celebrate the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Known in Spanish as La Guadalupana, the twelve day long celebration commemorates the miraculous apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to the Indian peasant Juan Diego on December 12, 1531. According to legend, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was imprinted on the cloak of Juan Diego, and to this day it is on display in Mexico City at the Basilica of Guadalupe, where one of the largest fiestas takes place.
Here in Puerto Vallarta, the processions take place every evening and make their way down to the city's most iconic landmark, The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Streets around the churches are lined with patient spectators, waiting for the appearance of their favorite processions. As each procession reaches the church, bells joyfully ring out. The number of pilgrimages intensifies as the celebration continues until the last few days when they fill as many as 20 hours in a single day.
The largest procession is on December 12th at midnight, when participants end the festival with a special mass in devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and by singing the traditional mañanitas (Mexican birthday song) to the Virgin inside the Cathedral.
It was on the same day in 1851 that Puerto Vallarta was founded by Don Guadalupe Sanchez, so the 12th of December also marks the 166th anniversary of the founding of our city, which kicks the celebrations up a notch with music and dance performances on the Malecón and fireworks lighting up the night sky over the Bay of Banderas.If you are planning on being part of this year's celebrations, make sure you come hungry for there will be many street vendors offering typical Mexican snacks. Among the list of favorites are tamales, churros, atole, esquites, enchiladas, tacos and more!