UPDATED 12/11, 5:30pm:
Here is your OFFICIAL SCHEDULE for Thursday and Friday activities in Durham:
6:30-11 pm: Matachine dancers will be dancing at "La Maldita Vecindad," address Savone Court, Durham 27703, which is a right turn off Hwy 98, just after the 70/98 split. Outdoors; rain or shine.
THURSDAY Midnight through FRIDAY MORNING 3 am:
Various local groups will be singing songs to the Virgin at the Immaculate Conception church, Chapel Hill St. in Durham. Indoors, sanctuary.
FRIDAY MORNING 12/12
3 am: Mariachis will sing songs for the Virgin and the official "Las Mañanitas" to greet her arrival. Indoors, sanctuary.
4 am: Mass. Indoors, sanctuary.
5 am: Breakfast of tamales and hot chocolate. Outside, church parking lot. There will be matachine dancers.
FRIDAY EVENING 12/12
5:30 pm: Procession. Outdoors, staging area in church parking lot. The procession will go through the surrounding neighborhood (probably kicking off in earnest around 6 pm). Expect traffic in the area to be blocked off!
7:00 pm: Mass. Indoors, sanctuary. This will probably be followed with some dancing outside around 8.
I have this info on good authority from youth organizer Ivan who has been working on these events at the Immaculate Conception Church for years.
This is the first year that the sanctuary will be open from midnight on, rather than just starting at 3 am when the mariachis arrive. He says anyone who wants to witness the dancing and celebrations is welcome, although for media/press they like to have advance notice. So, feel welcome! This is a once-a-year event and worth checking out.
*******(original post starts here)
Ok, here's your scoop for celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe's feast day in Durham, which is THIS FRIDAY (12/12).
The thing to remember, however, is that people start celebrating at Midnight Thursday (TONIGHT).
My tipster, Ramona, says that at the Immaculate Conception Church, there will be songs and dances starting at midnight; at 3 am there will be mariachis, singing of Las Mañanitas and other songs for the Virgin, and at 4 am, early morning mass. Following the mass, there will be hot chocolate and tamales. Ramona is a reporter on Radio Kilombo and she issued a general invitation over the show last night, so if you are interested, the public is invited.
A lot of people bring roses to place at the Virgin's shrine, because of her legend. According to the story, she appeared as an indigenous girl to a poor peasant, Juan Diego, on December 12, 1531, and caused roses to bloom on Tepeyac Hill.
On Friday evening, there will be a full procession through the neighborhood. My past experience says 6 pm, but I haven't vetted that information this year. Will update if I hear more. This is a cool thing to see if you can't do the all night mariachi mass.
Backstory: Read about past processions and a recent documentary about them which was filmed in Durham.