East Los Angeles devotees go with simpler, and less costly, Virgen de Guadalupe displays.

The iconic car floats that for decades swept down East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue as part of the procession of the Virgen de Guadalupe in East Los Angeles have been replaced by wooden platform shrines carried by volunteers as Catholics gathered for the 91st annual devotional on Sunday gathered.

Volunteers from half of the 30 parishes across the Archdiocese of Los Angeles that attended shouted up wooden platforms and how on their shoulders, carrying flowers, statues, paintings and murals of saints and virgins down the 0.7 mile parade route. About a dozen other churches entered the oldest continuous religious parade in Los Angeles, founded in 1931 by Mexican war refugees in honor of the Virgen de Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint, with bands, mariachis, or indigenous dancers.

The cost-cutting movement, sparked by the rising cost of city parade permits, was welcomed by some who saw the floats as a distraction from Marian worship and opposed by those who loved the pageantry.

“People expect to see these beautiful floats full of flowers and tributes to the Virgin,” said Carlos Betancourt, 49, an organizer at St Marcellinus in Commerce. “We’ve been doing this for … years in similarly difficult times.”

A self-proclaimed former “drug addict, alcoholic and womanizer” who found his way to religious retreat and sobriety through prayers to Jesus’ mother in the summer of 2013, Betancourt told Celebrations “La Jefa” should not be “saved”.

That and how are a tradition during worship in some Mexican villages, but automobiles at the east Los Angeles parade date from at least the 1950s, according to archival photos. Father Julio Ramos, the main organizer of the event, said the cost of permits for the vehicle wagons required by the cities of Los Angeles and Monterey Park has increased “very sharply”.

That and how are also much more affordable for parishioners who are spending thousands of dollars on floats despite issues with inflation and COVID-19, he added. Volunteer groups raised funds for the parade permits.

Procession of the Virgen de Guadalupe

A group of men carry one and a with flowers and a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe on East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue during the 91st Annual Procession of the Virgen de Guadalupe Sunday in East Los Angeles.

(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

Some of the wagons were little more than trucks, decorated with flowers and a statue of the Virgin Mary on the back. Others were more elaborate and pictorial scenes, and even re-enactments of the Catholic tradition of the performances of the Virgen de Guadalupe before an indigenous farmer named Juan Diego in December 1531 on Mexico City’s Tepeyac Hill.

Rosa Flores, a 31-year-old parade participant and organizer at St. Mary’s of Boyle Heights, said she was “surprised and saddened” by the postponement and how.

“We’ve had the swimmers for decades and this has been a difficult transition for us,” she said.

However, Flores acknowledged that her church had saved a lot on the “much simpler”. and a, which cost $300. Last year, the group spent $1,500 on a flower-decorated car.

Teresa Quezada, organizer of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in east Los Angeles, said her congregational group spent $12,000 on their car last year.

Procession of the Virgen de Guadalupe

Parishioners Juan Carlos Cruz Rojas, left, Monica Arroyo and Alejandra Arroyo enlist and a, or wooden religious platform supporting the statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe, Friday morning at Holy Cross Church in south Los Angeles.

(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

The group halved the cost this year. Her and a These included fresh red, white and pink roses surrounding a statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe with a backdrop of sunflowers and the number “100” in reference to the church’s recent anniversary.

“I welcome the idea of and how because these car rafts became a race between groups that were spending more and more every year,” she said. “I like to refocus on honoring the Virgin Mary and not ourselves.”

On Friday morning, a group of eight parishioners at Holy Cross Church in south Los Angeles built a four foot tall, 15 pound tree and a draped with the Mexican flag.

The devotional exhibit cost $150 and featured a three-foot statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe surrounded by colorful artificial roses and butterflies. Last year Holy Cross parishioners donated $1,200 towards their car.

Holy Cross parishioner Juan Carlos Cruz Rojas, a drywall installer, said his church’s parade entry reminded him of worshiping the Virgen de Guadalupe along the Costa Grande in Guerrero state, Mexico.

“All the celebrations at home were very personal because the Virgin Mary was there in Her presence,” said Rojas, 37. “So playing music for her and dancing for her while you’re wearing it is like being at home .”

Procession of the Virgen de Guadalupe

Erick Tamaypo, left, and Roberto Torres fight to keep theirs and a with a statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe emerging from a rut along East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue during the 91st Annual Procession of the Virgen de Guadalupe Sunday in East Los Angeles.

(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

Along the route, spectators smiled and waved, but also complained about the changes.

Procession of the Virgen de Guadalupe

Elisa Juarez holds her 4-month-old grandson Oliver Rodriguez at Holy Cross Church in south Los Angeles on Friday morning. Parishioners work on theirs and a with the statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe and ornaments of flowers, rosaries and butterflies for entry into the 91st Annual Procession of the Virgen de Guadalupe Sunday in East Los Angeles.

(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

“That’s nice too, but I’m used to seeing the floats float,” said Sofia Serrano, 17, who drove her grandmother from south Los Angeles to watch the procession. “I’ve been coming here my whole life and this is different than what I’ve seen.”

Last year, Alfonso Somilleda celebrated when his municipality received the first prize for the best car. Epiphany of South El Monte created a 25 foot long replica of the San Gabriel Mission complete with an adjacent tribute to the Virgen de Guadalupe. About 40 volunteers were needed for the project.

The church is smaller made of wood and a This year was built by eight volunteers.

“I think that’s more in line with the processions you see in Mexico,” Somilleda said. “So it’s certainly more traditional than the car rafts and more personal. But I guess you could also say they were missed this year.”

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-12-05/virgen-de-guadalupe-parade East Los Angeles devotees go with simpler, and less costly, Virgen de Guadalupe displays.

Alley Einstein

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