Lokkal- todo SMA
Our Country Cousins Living It Up

by Joseph Toone

As folks living in San Miguel we tend to assume San Miguel is the epicenter of fiestas and fireworks. Often we don’t realize the countryside offers similar alternatives. Festivals to the same saints and Virgins in the countryside are often even more festive than what happens in town, with some witchcraft thrown in for good measure.

A couple of weekends ago I ventured into the countryside to see festivals celebrated both in and out of town.

On Friday we had the festival of Lord of Conquest, celebrating when, after decades of war, the indigenous tribe of hunter-gathers stopped fighting the Spanish. It is an all-day celebration of indigenous dancers in front of the Parroquia thanking their ancestors for joining the, then, new faith.


Travel down by the dam that forms the large lake beside town into the town of La Huerta (orchard) known as home to the oldest tree in the area. There one of the local churches named in honor of the Lord of Conquest hosts day-long mechanical rides, food and fun. Like here in town folks bring tall offerings of bread thanking Jesus for his help.

The difference in La Huerta is Jesus, along with bread, enjoys beer, wine, whiskey and an ample amount of Pepsi. I had long assumed, what with the turning water into wine trick, that Jesus was a drinker. However, I hadn’t realized, judging by the sheer quantity of booze offered him, that he was such a serious drinker. Lucky for him, steps away from the booze laden church is the local site for AA meetings, which might come in handy for the Son of God after a lost weekend like that.

Up the mountain from La Huerta is Calderon, which is a more forward-thinking indigenous community in that they have a rehearsal party for the festival to the Sacred Cross coming in May.

Again, we here in town think of Festival of the Cross in late May to be an in-town event as each of the four oldest neighborhoods venerate their oldest cross with parties, concerts and processions. However, the whole festival starts May 3rd at Calderon where the original cross appeared in sky on the feast of Mt. Michael (giving our town its name, "San Miguel").

As most of the big festival organizers in town know, it is best to start with a practice procession party a month or so in advance. Calderon is doing just that complete with pick-up truck loads of food and dancers. Meanwhile pilgrims on bikes pedal away to reach the mountain top to join the party. What with the steep incline and the fast traffic alongside them you know these are serious bikers/pilgrims.

In Calderon you can view wax left behind from recent Dark Art ceremonies. Most recently I wasn’t quite sure if the wax was yellow or brown. Brown is for animal issues while yellow covers money problems. All I know for sure was the aroma of copal was omnipresent, inviting ancestors to come join the fun. As always, I bring the head witch my homemade cookies; only an idiot doesn’t show respect for what they don’t totally understand.

My point is, venture into the country to see variations on what we do here in town. Few foreigners realize that nearby are expressions of faith and appreciation, often more moving than what city folk know.


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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