December 12th is the Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe) and one of the most important days in México. It celebrates the day that the Virgen de Guadalupe appeared to the indigenous man Juan Diego and the miracle occurred in which her image appeared on his cloak (or tilma). The Virgen de Guadalupe is an incredibly important figure in Mexico, in part due to the strong Catholic influence throughout the country and the ties to prehispanic heritage and beliefs.
People from all over the country make a pilgrimage to the Basilica. In fact, in one of the news stories about the earthquake last night, it mentioned that the earthquake had temporarily halted the pilgrimage but they resumed shortly afterward. They start days in advance, with many people making the final approach to the Basilica on their knees. Apparently some people who, over the year have been granted requests made to the Virgen, prepare and give food to the people on the way to the Basilica. For those who don't make their way to the Basilica, there are also celebrations in towns throughout the country.
I won't be doing anything special this year, but click here to read about last year when I went to the Basilica.
Or visit http://www.maryourmother.net/Guadalupe.html for more information.