The traditional dress of the Mexican state of Colima honors the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Indigenous women in Colima embroider her image and red roses on the front of their huipiles to seek her protection from Pacific hurricanes that plague the coastal state.
The importance of the Virgin of Guadalupe to Mexico dates back to the 16th century and her appearance to an Indigenous man, Juan Diego, in 1531. Mary appeared four times to Juan Diego. She appeared on December 9 to request that a church be built at the Hill of Tepeyac. When the bishop did not believe Juan Diego, Mary appeared again on December 12.
She told him to gather roses in his cloak to take to the bishop. When Juan Diego opened his cloak before the bishop, the roses fell away and revealed an image of Mary miraculously imprinted on his cloak. The image of Mary on the cloak matched Juan Diego’s description of her as he had seen her, with brown skin and dark hair wearing a starry blue mantle with her hands folded in prayer.
This image of Mary, which looked more like that of an Indigenous Mexican woman, has become the most revered religious image in Latin America. Juan Diego’s cloak, made of a cactus cloth, has never deteriorated and is a sacred relic. A shrine was built on the Hill of Tepeyac in 1556. Today, millions pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
The Virgin of Guadalupe became patroness of Mexico City in 1737 and of the expanded territory of New Spain in 1754. She was proclaimed the patron saint of Latin America in 1910 and of all the Americas in 1945. In 1754, Pope Benedict XIV granted her a Catholic feast day, to be celebrated on December 12. This became a national holiday in 1859.
These outfits are part of a larger exhibition, Hilos de Tradicion: Dresses of Mexico, showcasing Mexican ensembles collected by the Brownsville Pan American Round Table beginning in the 1930s.
Source: Bullock Museum