MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CBS) -- The streets of Mexico City burst with sound and color as hundreds of clowns made their annual pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady Guadalupe in Mexico City on Wednesday (July 18) to pay homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Dressed in colorful costumes, clowns from all over Mexico walked towards the Basilica to attend a mass in honor of the saint.
"To give thanks to the Virgin (of Guadalupe) for everything, for all the work given to us daily as well as the gift of being a clown," said clown Garbancito (Little Garbanzo).
As members of the Clown Club of Mexico, the performers have been making the pilgrimage for over 30 years to ask the Virgin of Guadalupe to continue to watch over their members and their families.
With Mexico in the throes of a bloody drug war and crippling poverty rates afflicting the the Latin American country, clown Loredana Malagon told Reuters it was sometimes hard to lighten the mood.
"Is it difficult being a clown? No, but making people laugh is a little complicated because everyone is tied up but it's gratifying. It's beautiful to make people laugh, it fills you, it fills your heart. I don't know how to explain it but when a child laughs, when a person who was sad laughs, it fills you," said clown Loredana Malagon.
After dancing and singing through the streets, the clowns arrived at the iconic Mexican Basilica.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico and is revered by millions of Roman Catholic faithful.