What is the Virgin of Zapopan?
The Virgin of Zapopan is Mexico’s oldest Catholic icon, believed to have its origins in 16th-century 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 of the wood relic 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 the procession and other activities have been canceled due to COVID. The mass will be streamed live on Facebook.
The procession starts at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 14, in front of the 7-11 on Francisco Madero Avenue. Hundreds of musicians, charros, and dancers from various traditions will march down Francisco Madero. The procession itself lasts about 90 minutes and is then followed by an outdoor mass on the malecón.
After the mass, the Virgin is taken around the malecón where she’s received by passersby.
The next morning, July 15, the Virgin will be ferried to the Island of the Scorpions accompanied by dozens of other boats filled with devotees. There is no cost, but space is limited. The boats are donated by the local fishermen, who have a vested interest in seeing that the Virgin blesses the lake and provides them with enough fish to last the year.
WATCH: This video of the 2017 procession for the Virgin of Zapopan.
Procession Route for the Virgin of Zapopan in Chapala
Last updated July 12, 2020