Once again, it’s time to celebrate Mamá Linda. You may be asking yourself “who is Mamá Linda?” She is the Queen and Patron of Yucatán, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, who brings beauty to the San Antonio de Padua Convent in Izamal and is celebrated on December 8.
So let me tell you a little bit about the history of Our Lady of Izamal. In 1558, Fray Diego de Landa had a pair of twin statues of the Virgin made in Guatemala, one for Izamal and the other for Mérida. Since those days, the Virgin of Izamal gained a reputation for her multiple miracles, such as ridding Mérida of various epidemics and locust plagues and becoming too heavy to transport when a move to Valladolid was attempted. Sadly, the Virgin we see today is not the same one, because, on the morning of April 17, 1829, a devastating fire destroyed the original sculpture. After this tragedy, the Izamaleños requested for the twin statue that was located in Mérida to be donated. Their wish was granted, and a new image of Mamá Linda took up residence in the small chapel (known as the Camarín) behind the church.
Every year on November 29 the celebrations begin when the Virgin is taken from her chapel, located in the top tier of the church, to the main altar. Although this year’s public festivities have been suspended, you can usually enjoy the processions and a serenade in honor of Mamá Linda on the night of December 7, this event takes place in the convent’s atrium. The finishing touch? Singing “Las Mañanitas” for the Virgin at midnight. This has been considered one of the most important religious celebrations since the 17 century.
I’m excitedly looking forward to being in Izamal in December, to enjoy the merrymaking, the mass offered in honor of the Virgin, and the famous procession of the revered statue through the main streets of the city.
Editorial by Natalia Bejarano Calero
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