The Virgin

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Apparently, here in the US when you say something regarding The Virgin, people don’t really know who you’re talking about. So every time I say “Look, there, they have a Virgin” or “I saw this really cool Virgin at a store the other day” to Mike, his response is “Virgin? Which Virgin?” as if there are many Virgins (!). My response to that is “the Virgin, Mary, the only Virgin there is!”

I just don’t get it, in Venezuela when you say the Virgin everyone knows who you’re talking about, everyone has one or two around them at all times. Here? Not so much. In Venezuela, we have La Virgen de Coromoto, the patron of our country, and then tons of other ones too: La Milagrosa (my favorite), La Caridad del Cobre, La Chinita, La Rosa Mística, La del Valle, among others. Everyone seems to know them, have preferences, and hold them dear. They have different stories of when and how they appeared, and thus different names, but they are all Mary, the Virgin, Jesus’ mom, the mother of God.

People in Venezuela, pray to the Virgen, ask for favors, make offerings, so when you go to churches you see next to the statue of the Virgen (and often there are many different ones) flowers, photos, medals, diplomas, letters, and so on, that people leave behind in thanks for the favor granted, as a token of gratitude. Here? Again, not so much. Mike finds this all very strange, since he says in his family they only light candles at church and for the dead. You should see my bathroom at any given time, lit to gills with candles of prayer, thanks, and favors.

So it was kind of nice the other day, when I pointed out La Milagrosa to my dad, saying “Mira, la Virgen!” and he just responded “dónde?”.

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