Last night was the 6th Novena for the Guadalupe in our neighborhood.
Each day more people come and live music arrived on the fourth Novena. (Video below)

Don’t let the peacefulness of it fool you or make you nostalgic for simpler times because once it got started, about 30 boys under 12 showed up.

Half of them went down into the arroyo behind me to play soccer and yell, lighting sparklers that caused a raging bonfire
and causing every rooftop dog to bark like crazy while everyone recited prayers and sang and ignored the cacophony.

2011 6th Novena for the Virgin of Guadalupe from Suzanne da Rosa on Vimeo.

Click on the photo to view the video of this Novena

The rest of the boys stood in front of me pushing and shoving each other around for fun, their mothers slapping at them as they ducked away. By the end of the night, it was almost an old time religious revival with people singing, clapping and dancing, every bit of it heartfelt with love.

These novenas are a crescendo building toward the big party they have at the end, you can feel it coming.

If it’s anything like last year’s party on the 12th, it’s going to be fun, locos and all.



© 2011 Suzanne da Rosa

A slideshow of altars, celebrations and the cemetery, 2011

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Pilgrimage of San Miguel to the Parroquia to be blessed for the upcoming town celebration – The Festival of San Miguel 

This Weekend’s Festivities:
Midnight Friday:  Procession of the estrellas to the Parroquia for las mañanitas
4 a.m Saturday:  The Alborada and fireworks in the Jardin
2 p.m Saturday: Parade of los monos to the Jardin to be blown up
5 p.m Saturday:  The procession of the Xúchiles and dancers
9:30 – 10 p.m Saturday night: Castillo fireworks in the Jardin
11 a.m. Sunday: The big parade of dancers up Zacateros, around town and to the Jardin
9:30 – 10 p.m Saturday night: Castillo fireworks in the Jardin

Throughout the day the Voladores perform in front of the Parroquia

Mexico City, the museum of anthropology.

There’s more than I can write pecking a letter at a time on my iPhone so here’s some photos until I can get to my computer














Every June in San Miguel de Allende, they celebrate the feast day of San Antonio de Padua with first, Rockets beginning at about 4am, followed by religious processions and masses and a full size carnival with lots of kiddie rides, ending a week later with the Locos blessing and Parade.

Ten years ago this parade lasted about thirty minutes and was a rag tag group of neighborhood youth dresses as indians, pirates, skeletons, nothing so elaborate as you see now. It has grown into a full blown major parade with whole neighborhoods spending a good part of the year creating colorful elaborate costumes around a theme as you’ll see in the video.

They say about 10,000 people participate in it now.  They begin about a mile and a half outside of the center of town, ending up in the Jardin (the town plaza) to dance and have some fun. The parade itself takes a good couple of hours or more to loop through the town.

Here’s a video of parts from this year’s parade.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/166309376″>2011 Locos Parade</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user43839345″>Suzanne da Rosa</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


They know how to have fun!

I haven’t done an update on Elvia’s family in a long time.  For those of  you who haven’t read about Elvia, it begins with the post titled The Novena and a Tragedy.  Other stories about her family can be found by searching ‘Elvia’

It is now just a little over two years since her husband Jesus was murdered.  Her son Beto had the operation for his salivary gland tumor and that’s gone well.  He’s in the preparatory school for one more year then hoping to go to a university to become a chef.  The girls, Karen, Teri, Paulina and little Lupita are all doing well.

Since her husband’s death, she has been living in her in-law’s home.  She has one room where she sleeps with her four girls and Beto shares with a cousin.  Thirteen people share the home, a caring environment but very close and tight.  She talked to me the other day about not knowing how she was going to be able to purchase new school uniforms and supplies for school for the four girls for the next term, as they all go to new schools this August.

She works full time cleaning and cooking at what she describes as a private home, which often has groups of people for weddings and events.  She makes 1,000 pesos per week, the equivalent of about $85.70 at today’s online exchange rate.  Her normal schedule is 9-3pm but when people are in the house they expect her to work for the same pay but from 6:30 am until midnight.  I think this is not legal and tell her so. She also cleans for me in her spare time, once a week and she cooks full meals that she sells from her doorstep every Friday night.  She is industrious, religious, and a mother hen with her children.

She came to me this week asking if I could help find her more work.  I can’t imagine how she can possibly do anything else.  So I asked her what she really needed.  The looming issue for her now is that the four girls all have to go to new schools in August and she cannot afford the uniforms for the school year, which for 2 sets, including shoes and school supplies are going to cost about $6500 pesos, or about $640 usdls.

I did the math and she would have to work for at least two full months to be able to pay for this.  Then she’d have to work double time those two months to cover her basic living expenses.  This doesn’t include the tuition that Beto will need for his coming school year in the preparatoria (like high school) which, including registration and the 10 months of fees are going to be somewhere around $7,000 pesos.  Another  extra 9 weeks of full time work.

Beto and Elvia At the All Night Pilgrimage From Atotonilco to San Miguel

The day before yesterday, I decided to post to the San Miguel lists to see if anyone would like to help this family with school expenses. We’ve had a nice response and donations are beginning to come in, and I wanted to personally thank everyone who has offered to help.  We haven’t met our goal yet, but the response is heartwarming and Elvia and her family are very moved that people who don’t even know them would be willing to help.  We are still a little short, and I’m sure we will get there, but if anyone out there would like to make a small contribution, contact me through here and I can tell you what is still needed, or if we have met our goal.

Teri, Paulina and Lupita on Viernes de Dolores

I am grateful to all because if there is anyone who deserves a little break it is Elvia.  So thank you everyone.

I won’t say that wonderful events don’t happen downtown, because they do. But when things happen out in the neighborhoods they have a character all their own, an organic feel to them – like everyone just chipped in whatever they had that day and said let’s throw a party.
And they do.

It was the birthday of San Felipe this weekend – the WHOLE weekend, from Friday afternoon until 11pm tonight and they didn’t miss a trick. Carnival rides with six different kinds of loud music going all at once. Sirens go non-stop from about noon until it closes.

There’s loco music, bandas, religious processions and masses. Half of the homes in the neighborhood sell some kind of food, sweet, bread, tacos, and ice cream.

Little boys and old men set up tables of games and charge you to play. Mixed in with all it all are tables with people  selling groceries, fruit, toilet paper, chips and plastic containers.

People come from all over to play games, ride the rides, eat, dance, pray, carry the saints around the neighborhood singing.  They are outside all day and night talking to each other and sometimes you’ll find the tired ones  against a wall on the street sleeping.

The neighborhood locos get dressed up and dance all day.

2011 Fiesta, Locos in the Colonia San Felipe from Suzanne da Rosa on Vimeo.

How can one resist buying one of these?
Works of art for only 40 pesos, the size of a pizza.

Or taking the neighborhood kids for a ride on one of these?
Here’s a little movie for the kids – sounds and all –
loco dance music and a banda in the background,
each ride has it’s own music and they are all going at once.
No one seems to mind. (video to come)

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