Lokkal- todo SMA
Dragon Tales San Miguel de Allende

by Joseph Toone

You find yourself at a festival or procession when suddenly a dancing dragon appears; not like Puff, the Magic Dragon, but a kind of dragonish creature, often with a lion’s head, tortoise shell body and snake like tail.

St. Martha and her dragon are celebrated on July 29, this coming Sunday. Her dragon embodies the legend of St. Martha dispelling earlier indigenous gods and goddess in favor of the new Catholic faith.

In the bible, Saint Martha was a pal of Jesus. She was the aggressive middle sister of Lazarus and Mary. At one point Jesus comes over for dinner and Martha is vexed because neither her sister not the men are helping her prepare the meal. Jesus shocks her out of her anxious fretting about meal preparation (later making her the patron saint of cooks, waiters and waitresses) by stressing she should simply be enjoying Jesus’ company.

In Martha we see ourselves - worried and distracted by all we have to do in the world, especially at dinner time - forgetting to spend time with Jesus. Martha’s impact was so great the early Church reserved every Tuesday in her honor.

According to legend, St Martha moved to France following Jesus’ death. Her new village was having problems with a dragon named Tarasque. Saint Martha found the beast and charmed it with hymns and prayers, and led the tamed Tarasque back to town. The villagers, terrified by the monster, attacked it. The monster offered no resistance and died there. Martha then preached to the people and converted many of them to the new religion.

This story of the Tarasque is very similar to the story of Beauty and the Beast and King Kong. The monster is charmed and weakened by a woman and then killed when brought back to civilization.

The dragon was a metaphor of the hostile pagan faiths that frustrated the early Church. St. Martha, in this respect, represents the Church that boldly challenged the powers of the fallen gods as Europe became largely Catholic. Her legend came with the Spanish to Mexico where the indigenous faiths soon fell and became intertwined with the Church.

In addition to the dancing dragon’s occasional appearance in festivals, you’ll find biblical quotes about St. Martha in the cemetery as even in death we all can relate to the frustration of bringing dinner to the table... or something like that.


Joseph Toone is Amazon's bestselling author of the San Miguel de Allende Secrets series of books and TripAdvisor's best rated historical walking tour guide. For more information contact toone.joseph@yahoo.com or visit History and Culture Walking Tours or JosephTooneTours.com, also on FaceBook.

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