By Jimm Budd
Crowds will begin forming tonight for a vast pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the most holy shrine in Mexico. There, on a hill in the north of modern Mexico City, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a native in recently-conquered Mexico, and asked that a church be erected on the site of an Aztec temple to the mother of god. To convince skeptics, the Virgin placed her image on the native’s cloak. It hangs today in the shrine and an expected five million people will converge upon the site tonight and tomorrow. The date also informally marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Mexico, ending on the Epiphany in January.