I understand the tradition in Mexico for celebrating this day, but I cannot understand the nme given to it, Guadalupe. That isn’t the name of the place it took place, and I can’t find the meaning of ‘Guadalupe’.
Can you help me?
Why isn’t it The Lady of Tepeyac ot whatever?
I could be wrong about this, but I did read it from a fairly good source. What she really said was something like “Coatlashupe” which, in Nahuatl (the indiginous language) means “conqueror of Quetzlcoatl”. The Aztecs believed there was an ancient half/god ruler who was white and who left and said he would come back and end their world. His name was Quetzlcoatl. When the Spaniards first came, the Aztecs at first feared Cortez was Quetzlcoatl, come to end their world. Indeed, he did end their world. My understanding is that plagues followed, and the Aztecs really thought they were doomed, both morally and physically, to extinction.
When Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, her image had many Aztec symbols on it, and she told him she was “The lady who is the conquerer of Quetzlcoatl”. In other words, the one who was to bring hope to the indigenous people; who would save them and assure them that they were favored of God, not doomed by an ancient curse. And, of course, her appearance as an Indian, and in garb resembling that of Aztec royalty, was a conversion of their world into a Christian context.
The Spanish priests to whom Juan Diego reported thought he said “Guadalupe”. Since there is a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, a place in Spain, this made sense to them.
The rapid conversion of the Aztecs immediately after Our Lady’s appearance (which was very slow until then) is due to the fact that she brought them dignity and hope when they had lost it.
I’m no historian or linguist, but that’s my understanding. If true, it’s an astounding thing; much more astounding than we Anglos have usually understood.
Forgot something. I understand that Quetzlcoatl was also identified as a serpent god in Aztec mythology. So there was an additional meaning to being the conquerer or Quetzlcoatl besides being rescued from the doom foretold because of the return of the white ruler/god/conquerer.
I went on a pilgrimage to Guadalupe this fall and it was an amazing experience. All of us who call the Americas our home – be it north, central, or south – should look to this wonderful appearance of Our Lady for solace, grace, and inspiration. I was surrounded by those speaking a language not my own, and yet I was surrounded by true family.