Strock in Mexico (Dec. 2009)
Gazette columnist Carl Strock shares two dozen photos from his recent trip to Mexico. Featured are people celebrating the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe and action from a bullfight. Warning: The bullfighting scenes are not for the squeamish. Strock blogs about the photos in "Strock Freestyle" under News blogs. Posted on December 21, 2009.
A skit in front of the original Basilica in Mexico City.
Preparing for the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, celebrants gather for a show in front of the original Basilica in Mexico City.
A priest bestows his blessings on the figurines and images of the Virgin carried by pilgrims outside the new Basilica. Astute observers will notice a Philippine tourist in the background, related to the photographer.
Church and state: A Mexican flag is draped under the original miraculous image of the Virgin (if you’re a believer) behind the altar of the new Basilica. Not to worry, she has been “Queen of Mexico” since Pope Pius XII declared her such in 1945. I don’t believe the United States has anything comparable, though I am not an expert.
Some organized groups come from long distances carrying images of the Virgin for the big day of Dec. 12.
Many make the last approach on their knees.
This woman poled herself as if on a raft as she advanced on her knees.
Many pilgrims tote their images of the Virgin on their backs for convenience while making their long treks to the Basilica.
You don’t want to be without a picture of the Virgin.
These young men, who had run two and a half days from the state of Veracruz, asked me to take their picture with the stained glass of the new Basilica behind them, as a memento.
A visitor can hardly keep up with the shows, skits and parades, many of them improvised, that go on day and night leading up to the big day.
The perfect couple: A young woman dressed more or less like the Virgin of Guadalupe herself, the young man carrying the famous image.
Thousands of people camp out in the plaza in front of the Basilica in order to be present on the morning of December 12 and sing the Mananitas to the Virgin.
The original Basilica is in the background, a beautiful Spanish-Moorish building too small for modern crowds and in precarious condition. The ugly modern replacement is on the left.
Settling in as the sun goes down.
Among the many Guadalupe-related items for sale in surrounding shops: anti-bacterial soap, refreshing foot cream, and my favorite, disinfectant and deodorizing spray for shoes, which my wife prevailed on me not to buy, to my lasting regret.
Statues of the Virgin were for sale at 100 pesos, each – about $8.
Catholic television was on the scene – Maria Vision.
At a bullfight in Mexico City, a matador passed a charging bull.
The blood was real.
Lining up to go in for the kill.
The sword is planted, and the bull, though he doesn’t yet realize it, is dead.
The blood is not real, but the spirit certainly is. A Christ figure in La Profesa church, near the Zocalo of Mexico City.