Fiestas de San Andres in Ajijic
The Patron Saint of Ajijic, San Andres, the Fisherman, is honored for the last 9 days of November every year. These Fiestas are also called “The Fiestas de Noviembre”.
Gardeners, waiters, construction workers and the employees of a local hotel, the Nueva Posada, participate in the early morning and evening pilgrimages to the church in the plaza to mass, igniting loud skyrockets which tradition has it will frighten away evil spirits.
The large church of San Andres in the plaza is filled each day with musicians, flowers and candles and is very beautiful to behold.
For hours young people stroll around the bandstand and dance in the plaza. These walks are traditional and girls walk in one way and boys in the other and if you see someone that takes your fancy a rose may be proffered to show ones interest in the other person
Older family members congregate to enjoy conversation, watching the young people and to sample local cuisine and drinks available in the sidewalk cafes and bars set up for the fiestas. A favorite drink is Canela con Rompope which is a cinnamon flavored drink with a generous dollop of Mexico’s answer to eggnog.
Younger children are thrilled with the carnival rides and various booths selling games, toys, CD’s and other items from clothes to local folk art.
A highlight of each night is the Castillo which is an ancient Spanish and Chinese two story bamboo tower of fireworks which is lit sometime after 10:00 pm each evening built by a local family and paid for by participating local businesses.
One of the favorite pastimes of the fiestas is confetti filled eggs which are smashed over some unsuspecting person’s head bringing squeals of laughter from the young perpetrators.
If you live in the village of Ajijic the nightly noise of the festivities can be very loud and some residents choose to travel during this time. For us, however, the Fiestas are one of the highlights of the year.
Ajijic young people who work the United States sponsor the biggest night of the Fiestas which is November 29th by raising money during the year in their US communities and sending their donations to their Mexican families.
Each night is dedicated to a different business that sponsors their evening. For example the Nueva Posada hosts a parade from Seis Esquinas (Six Corners) at the west of Ajijic. There are Indian Dancers, bands, gifts of bread, fruit and wine for the church and of course the priest who marches along the street to the church with brightly it paper flower candles and all are welcome to join the march which ends up in the church for a special mass.
The a mass is held thanking the Eager Family for all they do for the community and all the Mexicans they employ.
Other similar activities mark each of the 9 days of the Fiestas for other participants.
For those of us lucky enough to be living in or visiting Ajijic, Lake Chapala, the Fiestas are a wonderful way to enjoy the warm, welcoming Mexican people and their traditions.
Many go every night as there is always something different to enjoy and I certainly recommend that you attend at least one evening of the festivities and to visit the beautifully decorated Church de San Andres. I know you will be glad you did.