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December 13, 2011
Feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Dec. 12 is one of Mexico's most important religious holidays, when millions make the pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City to honor the dark-skinned virgin who is said to have appeared to an Indian peasant on Dec. 12, 1531. An estimated 5 million people from across the country arrived at the basilica Monday carrying large frames, wooden sculptures and ceramic statues of the virgin on their backs. Many of those who had traveled for days on foot or cycled along highways as a sacrifice. -- AP (17 images)



A pilgrim carries an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on his back as he lights a candle inside the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Monday Dec. 12, 2011. AP / Eduardo Verdugo


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Pilgrims carry images of the Virgin of Guadalupe inside the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Monday Dec. 12, 2011. AP / Eduardo Verdugo



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A pilgrim carries a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Monday Dec. 12, 2011. AP / Eduardo Verdugo



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Pilgrims holding images of Mexico's patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe, wait outside the Basilica of Guadalupe to attend a Mass honoring the religious icon's feast day in Mexico City, Monday Dec. 12, 2011. AP / Anita Baca



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Aztec dancer Ehecatonatihu greets a friend while carrying a statue of Mexico's patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe, to an Aztec altar outside the Basilica of Guadalupe during the religious icon's feast day in Mexico City, Monday Dec. 12, 2011. AP / Anita Baca



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Pilgrims carry images of the Virgin of Guadalupe to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Monday Dec. 12, 2011. AP / Eduardo Verdugo



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Pilgrims carry images of the Virgin of Guadalupe into the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Monday Dec. 12, 2011. AP / Eduardo Verdugo



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A boy dressed in traditional clothing sits outside the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Sunday Dec. 11, 2011. AP / Marco Ugarte



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Pilgrims carry an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe toward the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Sunday Dec. 11, 2011. AP / Marco Ugarte



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Pilgrims sleeps next to a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe outside the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Monday Dec. 12, 2011. Thousands of people from all over the country converge on the basilica bringing images to be blessed on the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. AP / Eduardo Verdugo



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Pilgrims sleep next by pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe outside the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Monday Dec. 12, 2011. AP / Eduardo Verdugo



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A pilgrim sleeps next to a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe outside the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Sunday Dec. 11, 2011. AP / Marco Ugarte



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A pilgrim sleeps by an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe outside the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Sunday Dec. 11, 2011. AP / Marco Ugarte



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Pilgrims sleeps by their images of the Virgin of Guadalupe outside the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Sunday Dec. 11, 2011. AP / Marco Ugarte



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Candles lit by pilgrims burn outside the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Thursday Dec. 8, 2011. AP / Anita Baca



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Jamie Cruz, left, who journeyed by foot from the state of Hidalgo, poses for a photo in front of an image of Mexico's patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe, as fellow pilgrim Eric Perez stands by, inside the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Thursday Dec. 8, 2011. AP / Anita Baca



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Pilgrims gather to watch a group of Mixtec Indian dancers perform a traditional dance outside the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Thursday Dec. 8, 2011. AP / Anita Baca



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