Can you imagine millions of people participating in the same procession? This is the Pilgrimage of Zapopan, declared since 2019 as Intangible Cultural Heritage. You do not need to be a parishioner or believer, just feel the expressions of affection and devotion that thousands of people dedicate to “La Generala” or “La Pacificadora”, as many call Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception or Expectation.
From the year 1530 the provinces of San Pedro and San Pablo were founded in the Nueva Galicia region, located in the northeast Atemajac del Valle, in the current State of Jalisco. The conqueror Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán arrived in said valley that same year. Later Fray Antonio de Segovia evangelized the population of the Lordship of Atemajac and its surroundings, donating the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary to its faithful. Then begins in 1689, the construction of a sanctuary to house and venerate the immaculate Virgin of Zapopan.
The virgin and guardian of the Zapopan Basilica was made by indigenous hands, made of cane paste and since the 16th century it is considered the protector against lightning and storms. Hence the devotion shown to him for almost 300 years every October 12.
“La Generala” begins its tour at the Guadalajara Metropolitan Cathedral. At dawn, more than 16 thousand dancers from different regions of the country, brighten their journey. A large contingent is formed to accompany the tour: artisans, merchants, parishioners from all over the country come together for 7 km.
The final point is the Zapopan Basilica, an imposing baroque construction, built between 1690 and 1730, flanked by the Franciscan convent and built with the region’s beautiful quarry, home of the Virgin of Zapopan. The tradition of pilgrimage continues to grow, inheriting traditions from the next generations.