Norbeta Rodriguez and her relatives were busy Wednesday evening, cooking up a storm in a house on Queens Lane in Huntington Beach.
The 44-year-old Oak View neighborhood resident and her sisters appeared to be making an endless amount of tamales for the community that evening, the eve of the religious holiday celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe.
While Rodriguez was walking back and forth from the kitchen to the warm, outdoor cooktop, dozens of residents from the community gathered in front of the house, where an altar dedicated to the female icon revered by many Latino Catholics was set up.
A mariachi band serenaded and paid homage to multiple pictures of the Virgin Mary hung in front of the house as residents huddled under blankets and sipped coffee for warmth.
Catholics — usually of Mexican descent — celebrate what they believe was the appearance of the Virgin Mother of God before a man in Mexico on Dec. 12 during the 1500s, according to Maria Zamora, secretary for the St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church in Huntington Beach.