September is definitely a month of Fiestas and Celebrations!! Not only did we have the Independence Day festivities in the middle of the month, but we also had La Alborada which takes place on the weekend closest to September 29th and since this year the 29th was Saturday it started then. It is one of the biggest festivals in San Miguel de Allende, since it is for San Miguel’s Patron Saint, Saint Michael and it is spectacular!!
The weekend before is the “review’ which is kind of a practice session for the following weekend. Of course there was a parade with music and traditional dancers. I can never get tired of them as each time I see them I see new faces painted up and more colorful costumes. Always great for photos!! As I was coming into the garden to wait for the parade Media luna was playing under the portico in front of the Centro Cafe/Bar. That was a very nice treat and they played for quite a while. They should be completing their time in San Miguel at the end of October and we will have to wait until they return again next summer. We have seen them several times over the past months and they are great musicians and great kids.
I was sitting at one of the outside tables at the cafe and had 2 extra seats. A lovely couple (Suzanne Woodley and Philip Rostron) sat down with me, as people often do here, and we struck up a great conversation. That is one of the things we love about San Miguel, it is so easy to meet people and that reminds of of our days traveling around the world. You never know who you will meet next.
The actual event happens a week later in the early morning hours of Saturday the 29th, and we did not get to witness that as Glenn was getting tired from a full day on Friday. I was still totally wired and game but I did not want to walk home alone at 5am and figured it would be just about impossible to flag down a taxi. So we only got to see the lead up on the night of the 28th and then we headed home at about 1:30am and let the party continue.
What we did see of the evening/night was full of merriment and was a raucous good time giving us a taste of what the all night party was all about. We even followed along behind the Mojigangas as they paraded into the Jardin. See our video on Instagram here. (Note: Instagram does go down sometimes). Next year we have made a promise to get a nap in so we can head out to the Jardin closer to 11pm Friday night and do the all nighter.
Apparently each neighborhood organizes a party and then they all trek into the Jardin shooting off the “cannons” as they go arriving at about 2:30am. La Alborada is at approximately 4:00am with thousands of fireworks and music lasting till about 5:00am.
We did spend quite a bit of Saturday in Centro going in the morning to see the Valadores and the “Blessing of the Horses” where hundreds of horses from the surrounding areas come in for a mass and blessing. It was really something to see as both cowgirls and cowboys came through town on their well behaved horses to eventually crowd around the Jardin at about 1:00pm.
A bit after they left a parade of very colorful and odd paper mâché puppets on sticks came in. These are the “monitors” and there is kind of a “Burning of Judas” that goes off. The dolls are lit on fire with cigarettes then raised above everyone’s heads by men who twirl the polls around while moving about the area in front of the Parroquia until they blow up strewing candy out below to the waiting children, and sometimes adults. We thought it was absolutely brilliant and a lot of good fun.
Although we didn’t get to watch the 1 hour fireworks display on Saturday morning we were able to witness the beautiful extravaganza complete with music on Saturday night. Because you always need 2 huge firework shows in a day!! This one was remarkable for us, although I think we have said this for a few others. We loved the way the music was coordinated with the show and all the people singing along. We can’t get over the sense of community we feel here. It makes us feel right at home. Once again, since we can’t put video on our blog yet you can catch a fireworks sample from Instagram.
As we were walking to the fireworks Saturday night we saw groups of dancers dressed in indigenous outfits walking away from the Jardin. Bummer!! We were too late. But wait!! There is always another opportunity down the road and as we were having breakfast along the Ancha Sunday morning we saw buses and pick-up trucks being unloaded with a parade load of people, of every age group, all in their regalia.
We just don’t get tired of the amazing dress and face decoration we see throughout the year at these events. We finished breakfast just in time and were able to walk 3 blocks to watch everyone proceed by at the start of the parade.
This time was special for us because we have not seen as many little ones take to the streets before. Even though we were at the beginning we were surprised to see how mellow all of the kids were as they headed out on their long walk through town. They all looked fabulous and so many of them kept up with the beat in their dances and drums. (Much better than I ever could)
Also to be seen in Centro in front of the Parroquia during this time were big beautiful structures of flowers called Xuchiles. They are made with marigolds, chucharilla (leaves from a local cactus) and my favorite part: big tortilla type elements! These used to be placed over graves as offerings.
There were so many events through September that it was mind-boggling!! And the festivities continued through the 8th of October!! Well, actually festivities never stop here!! We are off to Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita and Bucerias next so stayed tuned to see what more we find to love about Mexico. My first trip to the coast!! Yippee.