Mexicans pay tribute to Guadalupana and ready for Pope’s visit

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Pilgrimage for the Vigin of Guadalupe in Mexico City

Pilgrims carry an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe toward the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Sunday Dec. 11, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans are making the pilgrimage to the shrine in anticipation of the Catholic icon’s feast day on Dec. 12. Also known as La Morenita, Our Lady of Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

The Virgin of Guadalupe marks her presence today on Mexican soil as an estimated 8 million persons expect to revive her image through a pilgrimage.

Pope Benedict XVI also confirmed that he will be traveling to Mexico and Cuba before Easter next year. The Pope’s visit is seemingly secondary to the nation’s citizens as two months of pilgrimages come to a halt, according to the Christian Science Monitor.The religious procession is one of the most celebrated historical traditions in Mexico. Today, Dec. 12, marks the moment indigenous Juan Diego saw the Virgin of Guadalupe, according to the legend.

Dozens of family members take pride in the tradition as caravans arrive at the Basilica. After traveling hundreds of miles, some of them come crawling on their knees, bleeding to the sanctuary.

Mexico is second to Brazil as the top Catholic nation, according to the AP.

In the United States, there’s a lingering similarity to the religious procession in Mexico. Around 1,000 persons embarked from Tortugas, New Mexico, on a pilgrimage to the top of A mountain, also known as Tortuga mountain, yesterday morning. The tradition also includes religious ceremonies, dancing and feasting, according to New Mexico’s Las Cruces-Sun News.

The same effect was felt in Chicago’s surrounding areas where thousands will convene today around the Virgin of Guadalupe shrine in Des Plaines, Illinois. Yesterday night was the annual Our Lady of Guadalupe torch procession, which featured fireworks. Aside from Latinos, Catholics all of ethnicities stopped by to pay tribute, the Chicago Daily Herald reports.

Pilgrims gather to watch a group of Mixtec Indian dancers perform a traditional dance outside the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Thursday Dec. 8, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans have began making their pilgrimages to the shrine in anticipation of the Catholic icon’s feast day on Dec. 12.  (AP Photo/Anita Baca)

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