Monday after the first Saturday in October

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, San Sebastián de la Gomera, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

In the 1500s, a ship bound for America passed near the island of La Gomera, where the crew observed brilliant lights coming from a cave on land. Attracted, they disembarked and found in the cave a small image of the Virgin Mary holding her child. They took it aboard, but then couldn't sail no matter how they tried. After returning the image to the cave, they ship was able to proceed into port on the island, near San Sebastián. When the crew told the authorities about what had happened, everyone went to the cave on Punta Llana (Level Point). The islanders named the 9" brown sculpture Our Lady of Guadalupe, after the famous dark Virgin of Guadalupe in central Spain (much as the Mexican miracle image was named around the same time). The statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron of La Gomera, was canonically crowned October 12, 1973. Her Bajada, or Descent among the people, is the island's biggest festival, held every five years (2008, 2013). Over a period of weeks, the miraculous statue processes down decorated streets to every community on the island. The Monday after the first Saturday in October is the biggest day. Accompanied by singing and dancing, the statue processes from the Puntallana sanctuary to the church in San Sebastián, where the bishop says mass. There are concerts and dances into the night. "Virgen de Guadalupe, / morenita agraciada, / todo tu pueblo te aclama / Gomera de Punta Llana" (little dark beauty, / your people salute you). (Information and image from www.corazones.org/maria/guadalupe_gomera.htm.)   
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly