A grumpy, yet surprisingly festive pilgrim.
Yesterday Carter, Oscar and I joined hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in the Procession of the Virgin of Zapopan. October 12th of every year the Virgin returns to her home, The Basilica of Zapopan, from her grand church tour. Starting in June, she visits every church in Guadalajara for a week, inciting mini-fiestas along the way. Her last stop is the Cathedral of Guadalajara and from there she is escorted through the (roughly) five miles of urban boulevards by revelers hoping for a miracle or just a good time.
Schools are closed for the day and with so many families milling in one relatively concentrated area, the vendors are out in force. There is no celebration in Mexico without an impressive showing of ice cream carts, taco trucks, fry vats, card tables loaded up with slices of flan, wheel barrows pushing containers of fresh fruit, donuts and sticky sweet coconut macaroons.
Due to the crowds, our late start, and the sinful culinary offerings tempting us at every step, we didn't actually make it to the church. My faith was tested by a street taco, and (surprise!) the street taco won! My opportunity to worship in the local tradition of walking on my knees from the gates outside the church to the front pew was blown by tacos barbacoa. (It is said that some walk on their knees for the whole procession, but apparently the die-hards were way ahead of me, because I didn't see any one with such pure devotion.) What I did witness and could totally get on board with was lots of eating and drinking in the streets!
The paper reported a turn-out of 1.8 million people!