Monday, June 17, 2013

Well, That’s Just Crazy



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Yesterday, here in San Miguel, it was El Dia de los Locos, The Day of the Crazies. Like most other holidays and celebrations here it actually began in the 18th century as a religious observance, but has since morphed into something entirely different.

El Dia de los Locos is held on the first Sunday following June 13th, with the biggest attraction being the parade. However, it is an all day affair beginning about 5:00 AM with the sound of cohetes and the singing of the traditional mañanitas in honor of San Antonio de Padua, the patron saint of San Miguel. This is followed by mass at the church of San Antonio, the Locos parade, an evening of restaurant and bar hopping, street dancing and finally the release of about a million firecrackers from castillos, castles, built for that purpose, and of course, accompanied again by the thunder of the ever-present cohetes (rockets).


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This fiesta originally began as two separate holidays. The first was a celebration in May of the Spanish saint, Pascual Baylón, or Bailón as he is known in Mexico. Pascual Baylón was introduced to the newly Catholic Mexicans in the 18th century as the patron saint of field and kitchen workers and they celebrated his feast day by dancing in the streets to pagan music while costumed in the tools of the kitchen or fields. Many of the merry-makers dressed as scarecrows and developed dances deemed “crazy” by the onlookers.

The other holiday was in honor of San Antonio de Padua held in mid-June. This celebration also had dances, but the popularity of the Pascual Baylón dances and processions soon overshadowed those of San Antonio and the two festivities eventually became one.


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Clowns replaced the scarecrows and all manor of costumes eventually replaced the clowns until the current Locos Parade was born. Today we see men dressed as women, women dressed as men, parodies of television, movie and political personalities, and almost anything else that creative Mexican minds can produce.


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The parade unfolds from Colonia San Antonio and takes hours to wind through the calles of San Miguel to finish at El Jardin, the town’s principle plaza. People from many different neighbourhoods and groups of co-workers make up the “Locos” in the parade, and they dance through the streets, each group providing their own music, to create a cacophony of rivaling tunes.


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Trucks decked out as elaborate floats weave between the dancers and throw hundreds of kilos of candies into the throngs lining the streets, many of whom wait with umbrellas turned upside down to catch the dulces, sweets or candies.


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Thousands of people turn out to watch the parade and people watching in the crowd is almost as much fun as the parade itself.


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Next year this one will be in the parade!


In true San Miguel de Allende style the people here have taken an old tradition and reinvented it, once again incorporating the old and the new and creating something special, and most certainly unique!





 Sights and sounds of the Dia de los Locos Parade

15 comments:

  1. Looks like it was a real kick Shannon! Great photos! Thanks!
    Cheers,
    Dan in NC

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    1. You're welcome Dan. It's always a fun day!

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  2. I haven't seen it in a couple of years but it certainly is unique. One has to be committed to stay for the whole thing cause once you get there you can barely get out of it.

    I love the self-deprecating humor of the Mexicans and their love of fun and festivals.

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    1. I couldn't agree more Barbara. That's one of the things I love about the Mexican people,they have great sense of humour.

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    1. Oh, it's great fun Peter, maybe you can come for next year's parade.

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  4. Let's see. Clowns doing odd dances and tossing free goodies. Are you certain you were not at a politician gathering?

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    1. Sort of, there was sure a lot of political spoofing going on. There were a lot of Enrique Peña Nieto costumes and masks in particular.

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  5. Wow Shannon we're not in North Vancouver anymore, are we? Great post and maybe Jorge and I will get to see that one of these years.

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  6. Boy howdie, we are not! Actually this would be a lovely time of year for a visit, when it's so hot there. It's really lovely here right now. We're getting a little rain which takes the edge of the heat, and the parade is definitely fun.

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  7. Looks like Mardi Gras in New Orleans!

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  8. Love this post! Wish I had been there!

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    1. Rats, I guess you are out of town this year too! Always great fun. A lot of the photos are Todd's, that's why they're so good, LOL.

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