After a late night on Saturday it was difficult to get up at 5:30 AM to go see the pilgrimage of El Senor de la Columna. The 8-mile pilgrimage begins in Atotonilco with the faithful carrying a statue of Jesus with wounds on his back and sides depicting flagellation and the mark of the kiss of Judas on his cheek and it ends at the San Juan de Dios church. Senor de la Columna whose home is in Atotonilco is credited with miraculous powers. Starting at midnight the procession stops along the way for prayers and enters San Miguel de Allende at Independencia around dawn. Fireworks and rockets have been exploding for several hours before they arrive but with even mightier displays when the procession enters the town.
All along the route to the San Juan de Dios church people have decorated the streets with sawdust paintings, carpets of herbs and rose petals, bouquets of flowers, balloon arches, and cut-papers. We left the house while it was still dark and joined other quiet groups from houses along our way walking toward Independencia. Just on the far side of the San Juan de Dios mercado there were big torches and a couple of places set up where the procession would stop for prayers. Three years ago we had waited for the procession there but the crowds are so thick at that point that it was impossible to move to get photographs so we walked up Independencia.
In the dark many sidewalk vendors had set up stands to sell atole and tamales. Or some vendors had mini-tiendas offering many other things besides atole and tamales. Families found places along the road so that grandmother could sitdown and toddlers were cuddled in laps and wrapped in shawls as they waited in the chilly morning air for the procession to come. Others walked on up Independencia to join in the procession when it entered the city.
By the time the procession had arrived at the San Juan de Dios church it was light. Just outside the walls surrounding the church there were many ladies frying tiny empanadas to sell to the tired and hungry after the mass. While the little empanadas looked good, we decided on a more substantial breakfast at the Cafe in the San Francisco Hotel. Then we headed home for a early siesta.