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Last Updated: Monday, 15 December, 2003, 15:08 GMT
Mexico: Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe
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It is said that 90% of Mexicans are Catholic, but 100% are Guadalupanos - devoted to the Virgin of Guadalupe, la Reina de México (Queen of Mexico). Photos by BBC News Online reader William Thompson.
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On December 12th each year, processions from rural communities near San Miguel de Allende converge at Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua to celebrate the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
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The people come bearing images of the Virgin, some from their community church others with images from their homes.
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The images are set near the entrance to the church to be blessed by the priest.
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The procession is accompanied by groups of traditional conchero dancers...
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...with pungent burning copal as they wait alongside the lines of people entering the church.
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The boy's orphanage in San Miguel de Allende was named to honour the Virgin: Santuario Hogar Guadalupano. So they hold a gala affair to celebrate this day each year, with tables spread under the trees to serve a variety of local dishes.
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Many come to enjoy the food and to offer their prayers in the chapel at the orphanage, built in a former 18th century granary with its impressive image of the Virgin.
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Parents also dress their children in traditional costume for the day.
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The sisters of the order Dominica who run the orphanage present traditional dances performed by a group from San Elias, a rural community.





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