The story of La V√≠rgen De Guadalupe is an iconic tale. On December 12 of 1531 Mexico, a shepherd named Juan Diego saw a vision of a tan Virgin Mary in Aztec garb. 

The vision asked him (in his native Nahuatl) to build a temple in her honor. He did, and today the Basílica de Guadalupe receives 20 million visitors yearly.

There‚Äôs no doubt that La V√≠rgen De Guadalupe is a symbol of Catholicism for Mexicans everywhere. But this origin story points to colonial roots. 

Experts believe that Juan Diego‚Äôs vision never happened, and that Spanish colonizers made up that story to encourage indigenous people to convert to Catholicism. Now, Mexico is over 80% Catholic. 

Nonetheless, La V√≠rgen has also provided Mexicans and other Latinos with hope, and continues to represent Mexico‚Äôs Aztec and colonial past and present. 

La V√≠rgen is now ingrained in Mexican culture. Her image is displayed on murals, clothing and businesses. Her feast day on December 12, is celebrated with parades, mariachis at early mass and pilgrimages to her Bas√≠lica. Regardless of the intentions behind the origins of ‚ÄúLa V√≠rgen Morena,‚ÄĚ she has been a vision of hope and a source of comfort for millions.