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An unforgettable experience to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe

El Camino de San Antonio missions invites everyone to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe at the annual pilgrimage of San Juan Diego on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 a.m.

The pilgrimage of San Juan Diego will be celebrated with hundreds of matachine dancers processing from Mission San Juan Capistrano at 9101 Graf Road to Mission San Jose at 701 East Pyron Avenue.Those interested are invited to arrive when the National Parks open at 7 a.m. and line the path from Mission San Juan to Mission San Jose to await the matachines dancing in procession. As the matachines process toward Mission San Jose, all are invited to join their procession.

What are matachines?

The matachines dance is rooted in a medieval dance re-enacting the battle between the Spaniards and the Moors and was adapted during the Spanish conquest of the Americas to represent the battle of Christianity against pagan religious practices. Over time it incorporated Mexican, Indian and American religious and social symbols in a dance for a deeper religious purpose. Several different characters are part of the original Danza de Matachines, including El Viejo, a devil figure with whip who tries to lead people astray. During the annual pilgrimage, look for El Viejo hiding among the matachines.

Prayer intentions

As a ritualistic dance and a form of prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the matachines dancers pray throughout their entire performance. The Matachine Dancers want to pray for intentions while they make the pilgrimage from Mission San Juan Capistrano to Mission San Jose.

For more information, contact Nicky Mata at Nicky.Mata@archsa.org or call (210) 275-4548.