Mexico City, Dec 12 (epa-efe).- More than 10 million pilgrims have arrived so far at the Basilica of Guadalupe to celebrate the day of the brown-skinned Virgin, the Mexico City government reported Wednesday.
Bearing pictures, religious statues and flowers, the pilgrims began arriving in the capital on Monday to celebrate the day of Mexico's patron saint and to commemorate the 487th anniversary of the Virgin Mary's apparition to indigenous saint Juan Diego.
To take care of the pilgrims, the capital government, with the collaboration of the borough of Gustavo A. Madero, has launched an operation dubbed "Welcome Pilgrim 2018."
So far, 2,240 people have received medical treatment of one kind or another as part of the operation, Civil Protection authorities said.
Eight individuals have been arrested and nine have been reported missing - although eight of those were located soon thereafter.
Also, 497 tons of garbage have been collected and some 60,000 liters of water have been distributed.
At midnight on Tuesday, the pilgrims sang the traditional birthday song "Mañanitas" to the Virgin of Guadalupe and a Mass was celebrated in which Basilica rector Salvador Martinez expressed his hope for the country to achieve "true peace" and distance itself from "injustice and mutual selfishness."