On December 12, 1531, only 10 years after the Spanish invasion of the Aztec nation, Our Lady of Guadalupe first appeared to a humble peasant named Juan Diego. She asked that a shrine be built in her honor on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City, the site of her "birth".
The Spanish bishop wanted a miraculous sign to verify this request. When Juan Diego opened his tilma, (a coarse-woven mantle made from maguey fiber), a cascade of rare and beautiful Castilian roses fell to the ground and the Virgin's image was imprinted upon the cloth. After nearly 500 years, her image remains mysteriously unaltered!
Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe) is considered the symbol of the spiritual heart of the Mexican people. She can be found dangling from rear view mirrors to elegant home alters... even tattoos! She's as much a cultural & spiritual icon as a Catholic symbol. Her image is found everywhere in Mexico and is made from a myriad of materials including wood, clay, stone, paper, concrete, metal, cloth and sugar!
Frequently, ofrendas are decorated with images of patron saints or the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's most favorite saint.