Mexico is a very catholic country. Puebla as a state is extremely catholic. Cholula where I’m staying is one the most catholic towns in the country. It has over 140 churches for a population of 80 thousand. People here say that someone that lives here can suffer from “Iglesofobia” (phobia of Churches).
I’ve always sympathized with the story of the Virgen de Guadalupe. But there is another Virgin that is also very popular among Mexicans the Virgen de Los Remedios. It wasn’t until a few days ago I discovered that these two virgins are NOT supposed to get along! They are both images of the Virgin Mary, BUT their stories are very different.
The story tells that Los Remedios was brought by the Spanish during the Spanish Conquest, especially the episode known as the “Noche Triste” or Sad Night. It is said that Cortez led his men to an indigenous religious sanctuary to escape the Aztecs. According to legend, one of Cortés’ soldiers, Gonzalo Rodríguez de Villafuerte, was carrying a small image of the Virgin and hid her under one of the plants in order to retrieve and pay homage to her later if he survived. During a later battle in this area, the Spanish reported seeing a young girl throwing dirt into the eyes of the Aztecs to help the Spanish, therefore La Virgen de los Remedios “saved” them.
According to the traditional account, the image of the La Virgen de Guadalupe appeared miraculously on the cloak of Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, near Mexico City in 1531. The image of Guadalupe represents the Virgin Mary standing on a crescent, her long flowing clothes held up by the arms of an angel, her eyes are looking down with an expression of compassion and humility, apparently at someone on a lower level. She is known as the Queen of Mexico. She represents the independence of the country and a true Mexican Virgen.
I’m fan of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Last year when I was in Mexico City visiting Alex we lit a candle for the Virgen. We asked her to get Alex the job back in New York. He was waiting for the offer for a long time, and on the same date we lit the candle, he got an email. On the showdown between the Virgins I’d go with the Mexican one. Not only because she got my boyfriend to move back to New York (THANK GOD, or I mean THE VIRGIN) but also because of what she represents for the people here. No offense Los Remedios, but the Spanish had no business killing the indigenous.