Festival de San Miguel

San Miguel de Allende is named after two ‘people.’ One is Ignacio Allende, a hero of the Mexican Revolution. The other is San Miguel or St. Michael, who is also one of God’s archangels. In the Mexican Catholic tradition, each saint has their own special feast day.  When a saint’s feast day coincides with your personal name or with the name of your town, it’s cause for a party, ergo, when Michaelmas (the feast day for San Miguel) rolls around, it’s time for a massive party.

Quema de Monitos - burning of the 'monkeys,' or the lower baser self.

Michaelmas is officially September 29th, but San Miguel de Allende makes a weekend long event of it. The party starts on Friday night with fireworks in the sky, church bells ringing, and loud booms that shake the floor. Each neighborhood has it’s own celebration, as do surrounding towns, but the main events take place in the center of town, the Jardín (garden) and the Parrochia (the main parish church).

The festivities include mariachi bands, a parade of stars (piñatas), voladores (flying dancers), the blessing of the horses, the Quema de Monitos, parades that are both Christian and pagan, xuchile offerings, indigenous dancers in rather terrifying regalia, and a fireworks extravaganza that involves shooting fireworks into the crowd in a mock battle between good and evil.

Some of it I captured, some I didn’t. . . because it happened in the middle of the night and I’m just not going to do that to my body anymore!

Read on to see: 

  • Danza de los Voladores
    Flying dancers who leap backwards off of a 100ft tall pole and dance in the wind as they fall. 
  • The Blessing of the Horses
    Caballeros and caballeras who flow into San Miguel to have their horses blessed in front of the Parrochia
  • Danzas Indigenistas 
    Amazing indigenous dancing up close and personal, featuring costumes that would scare the crap out of you if you were one of the conquering Spanish. Seriously. After looking at the pics would you want to meet one in the forest on a dark night?!
  • La Quema de Monitos (coming soon)
    The burning of the monkeys – not literal monkeys and not just fire. This is a fun display involving blowing stuff up in a show of the battle against evil