Las Fiestas De Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico
Well here we are again. The last nine day of November are the Fiestas de Ajijic or properly known as the Fiestas de San Andreas. Every night for nine days different prominent businesses or associations sponsor the activities on the plaza including the traditional castillo or tower of fireworks which usually are lit around 10:30 pm.
The church plays a prominent role as the sponsoring business or association makes a procession with candlelit torches from Six Corners at the far end of Ajijic to the beautiful Catholic Church in the plaza for a special mass honoring the sponsors and their families.
The area is closed off creating great difficulty getting around downtown Ajijic and clogging even further the main highway but it is worth it. Everyone comes together to meet old friends and make new ones. The sights and smells are wonderful and the whole affair has a real Mardi Gras feel albeit on a much smaller scale.
There are wonderful things to eat and the aroma of canela con rompope the traditional drink of the fiestas) wafts through the air. There is something for everyone. Rides, games, balloons and toys for the children and drinks, food and stalls of various assorted items for the adults.
In the center of the plaza there is a large gazebo for the musician’s to play the music that inspires the onlookers. Many young musicians have got their start at the fiestas as the crowd is very forgiving and appreciative.
One of the most charming customs is that of young adults circling around the plaza in opposite directions (boys go one way, girls the other) to see if someone catches their eye. Many long term love affairs have begun in just this way. It is wonderful to watch as they saunter around in a circle looking for love.
Another less charming (to me anyway) custom is that of filling colored eggs with confetti and cracking them over unsuspecting souls. The children love this activity and the sound of their laughter is perhaps worth every smack.
The fiestas are truly for the whole family. Babies fall asleep in their parent’s arms having had wonderful time, young children love the rides and games, teenagers love the sport of flirting and adults love watching them all have fun and, of course, shopkeepers in the area love the trade.
The crowing glory of every evening is the Castillo which captures the imagination of all ages as they watch the beautiful colors light up the dark night sky. Everyone oohs and aahs happily and carries their tired babies home to sleep and to dream of a very warm, festive and fun-filled evening.