Las Fiestas de Ajijic
Every town and village in Mexico has a patron saint and the patron saint of Ajijic is San Andres (St.Andrew), which as is the custom, is also the name of the church in the plaza.
A town’s saint’s fiesta is usually the biggest, longest and liveliest of the year and the Fiestas de San Andres are no exception.
They are held the last 9 days of November and every night is sponsored by a local business or association and every night is different. There is the common denominator of the Castillo (tower of fireworks) which graces every night.
I will first describe the night that Le Nueva Posada sponsors as it is the one I have participated in every year for the last 15 years but the other nights have a similar format.
We all meet at Seis Equinas (Six Corners at the far west of Ajijic) and everyone mills around waiting for the bands and Indian dancers to arrive and, of course, the arrival of the priest. Large paper flowers are fashioned around candles and a parade to the church on the plaza commences with the owners, employees and friends of La Nueva Posada marching to the church.
There are baskets of food, wine, flowers, bread and other offerings for the church and people come out of their houses to watch the procession. The bands play and the dancers dance and the brightly lit flower/candles held high all contribute to a wonderful and colorful spectacle which is quite moving.
On reaching the church the flower/candles are collecting before entering the church and a special mass honoring the Eagers (owners of La Nueva Posada) takes place thanking them for employing so many staff and their families.
After a very beautiful mass, where all are welcome, everyone streams out of the the church into the plaza to enjoy a variety of activities where there is something for everyone.
There are rides and games for the children, stalls selling all kinds of clothes, house wares, toys, music etc. and food of every kind is also available.
The traditional drink of the Fiestas is Canela con Rompope which is a cinnamon flavored hot drink with the addition of a shot of Mexico’s answer to eggnog. It is absolutely delicious and very warming as the nights can be cool this time of year.
One of the favorite games of the children is hollow eggs are sold filled with confetti which are cracked over someone’s head bringing peals of happy laughter.
It is very much a family affair and people walk around the gazebo in the middle of the plaza greeting old friends and making new ones. There is a marvelous tradition where people walk in opposite directions around the gazebo. The object of this is to see if someone of the opposite sex catches your fancy. If someone does catch your fancy, as it were, a rose is passed to express said interest. Everyone goes to the Fiestas for the food, music and, of course, the greatly anticipated Castillo which usually is lit around 10:00 pm.
There are tasty tacos available along with quite a famous hotdog which is sold across from the bank. All manner of candy is for sale as well as many toys and flowers for the kids.
The Fiestas de San Andres (sometimes called the Fiestas de Noviembre) are very beautiful and highly anticipated by the locals and ex-pats alike. As they are right in the heart of the village of Ajijic some ex-pats choose this time for a little trip as they are quite noisy with fireworks, music, and laughter.
I think you will thoroughly enjoy the sights, smells and camaraderie that the Fiestas offer giving the ex-pats the opportnity to mingle with and learn more about our warm and gracious Mexican hosts.