Sunday, December 16, 2007

In praise of virgins

This is not a slogan for a just-say-no chastity campaign. It is a true expression of admiration, respect and amazement for the many families and households who erect lovely little shrines to the Virgin of Guadalupe in celebration of her saint’s days, December 1 – 12. People take this very seriously and most go to some trouble to have a nice shrine, complete with flowers, candles and lights. I took my camera on a walk around town a few days ago and these are only a sampling of what I found, along with an explanation of where they were. That sometimes is the whole story.

This is the Virgin of the Pila. She is on the wall above Marie’s laundry tub or pila. You can see the faucets below. There is usually a candle burning for something or someone who needs a miracle.

Across the street from Marie lives a very large family who has been here for many, many years. Their living quarters are all outside under a clay tile roof; no doors, no windows. The kitchen is half-open, the bedrooms and baths are, however, indoors. This lovely altar is in the living room facing the street. The flowers are changed every day.

I took this because I like the Guadalupe-printed fabric hanging against the wall. It was a bit breezy.

She looks better at night but it was too hard to get a good, clear picture. Great colors!

I love the color of this house. The altar was constructed on a ledge in front of the living room window, now covered with a cloth with two little curtains. When they turn off the lights, they draw the little curtains over the picture. Please note Pope Benedict kneeling in the lower left. Note also the electric meter that has been tapped into directly to supply power for the lights!

In the evening these candles are lit, along with the strings of lights.

This is the Pink Virgin. You can see why. In the early morning there is a curtain over her shrine so I was unsure if there was anything there. I went back later and this is what I found.

This shrine was under a huge almendra tree on the far side of town. As I was taking this picture a little lady came out of the house and bustled off to the side. As I was leaving she stopped me and told me that she had another Virgin she wanted me to see. She disappeared behind her house and soon came out carrying a big framed poster. She didn’t have anywhere to put it, she said. I think.

Here she is with her prized possession. She was delighted to have her photo taken.

Here’s a picture of a shrine at night. As far as the lights are concerned this one is quite modest.

Here’s the Pope again with Juan Diego, the peasant farmer who started all this Virgin of Guadalupe business in the first place.

This is my all-time favorite which I think I posted last year sometime. She was not in evidence this year. I call her “Busted Virgin.” She may have been paroled.

And finally, this is Pina, the town butcheress. She had just repainted her shop this lime green color and was mighty pleased with the look. It used to be bright yellow-gold, but she thinks this color is more favorecedor (flattering). Can’t imagine.

So there you have it. Virgin of Guadalupe shrines, 2007. Enjoy.


At 6:45 PM, Blogger rogerlinda666 said...

What a sweet collection of photos. Thank you, or more appropriately Gracias! It was so nice of you to post these pictures. It makes my absence a bit more tolerable. Luv ya mucho. Linda B.


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