SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is being celebrated by Catholics, especially those with indigenous roots in Mexico.
The church on Nopal St. in Santa Barbara's Eastside is named after Our lady of Guadalupe.
"She is our God's mom, this church is named after Our Lady of Guadalupe so that is another very special thing to us to we dedicate our hearts our faiths our lives to be better people," said church Security Officer Anthony Rodriguez.
On Dec. 12 church members observe the appearance of the Virgin Mary hundreds of years ago.
To Catholics this is the day in 1531 that Mary appeared to an indigenous Mexican farmer named Juan Diego.
"He never expected that he would serve such a great purpose and so the same as true of our lives," said Father Pedro.
People young and old dressed as Juan Diego and many brought roses commemorating the winter roses that sprang up around him.
The church overflowed with people wishing to watch an indigenous offering by Xochipilli de Santa Barbara before the evening Mass.
Instead of calling their dance a performance they called it a form of prayer.
Many worshipers consider Mary the mother of Mexico who makes them feel safe.
They said her message is about love and compassion and protection for all mankind.
Rafaela Unzueta Conseco came out of retirement to make close to 700 of pounds of masa.
With the help of family and volunteers she made hundreds of tamales for the church celebration.
Anita Sanchez called it a holiday tradition she truly enjoys.
"Making them is a special opportunity to make as a family, " said Sanchez, "Because everyone comes together, everyone makes them together and it is just a beautiful thing to experience."
People coming and going to and from church also had a chance to try sweet and savory tamales made by Yolanda Miguel Camillo.
Miguel Camillo served hot pineapple horchata, too, perfect for warming people up on a cool evening.
For more information about the church visit https://olgsb.org.