What is the Virgin of Zapopan?
The Virgin of Zapopan is a wooden relic which may have 16th-century origins in Spain. Other histories say it was made in Michoacán. The original is currently kept at the Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan, in the city just west of Guadalajara, and it only leaves the basilica, briefly, twice a year.
Four replicas tour towns and cities in Mexico to take part in religious processions made up of hundreds or sometimes thousands of followers and pilgrims. Almost 2,000,000 people attend her annual October 12 feast day procession in Guadalajara, making it one of Mexico’s more important pilgrimages.
The Virgin has visited Chapala each year since 1955 and in 2009 she was coronated as the “queen” or protectress of Lake Chapala.
This year’s procession starts at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 8, in front of Soriana. Hundreds of dancers from various traditions will march down Francisco Madera Avenue, along with mariachis and other musical groups and marching bands.
The procession itself lasts about 90 minutes and is then followed by an outdoor mass on the malecón.
The next morning, July 9, the Virgin will be ferried to the Island of Scorpions accompanied by dozens of other boats filled with devotees. There is no cost, but space is limited.