Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Weekend of Festivities

San Miguel de Allende has indeed honored its patron saint. Starting at 4:00 AM on October 1, there was an hour of fireworks and bell ringing from the Jardin. It is really impossible to describe this event. I've been before and I should have gone again this year and taken pictures but I didn't.

After processions come in from some of the outlying areas to bring offerings and pay homage to San Miguel, the fireworks begin. From the Parroquia the fireworks are fired across the jardin signifying San Miguel fighting the devil and from the other side the devil is fighting back and also firing fireworks back at the Parroquia.

There is no attempt to have a fall-out zone and the crowds are gathered all in and around the jardin so from time to time you have to dodge a few rockets coming your way. Whatever you wear will most certainly have some holes from the sparks. After about an hour of continually exploding fireworks and all of the bells in the Parroquia ringing constantly, San Miguel wins the battle and quiet reins again.

In the late afternoon is a procession that includes giant floral altars/offerings, called xuchiles. They are made across several telephone poles and are carried by the men for quite some distance up the hill of Canal Street to the Parroquia where they are then erected to stand for a week. This is an amazing demonstration of engineering, strength and devotion.

This is not a solemn procession. The procession includes many native dance troupes in fabulous costumes, more of the conchero dancers, and the Mojiganges. The Mojiganges are papermachie heads on a frame covered with "clothing" that are worn on the shoulders of dancers. They stand high above the crowds and bring much fun and humor to the procession.
All of this is followed by fireworks and castillos about 9:00 PM.

The next day, more processions. This one starts from Ancha de San Antonio and winds about 2 miles through town with the dancers once again dancing without ceasing. Go to my set of photos from these processions, if you would like to see more images from the parades.

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