Fiestas Patronales in Guachinago Jalisco
One of the many things I love about Mexico is their devotion to traditions and the richness of their culture. The same can be said for Guachinango Jalisco, a small rural town and municipality located in central-western Mexico and my place of birth. One of the many traditions in Guachinango are Las Fiestas Patronales (patronal feast) in honor of Virgen de la Purificacion de Maria (virgin of purification of Mary), a title given to Virgin Mary by the town of Guachinango. I should add here that every small town in Mexico has a special name for Virgin Mary.
Las Fiestas Patronales de Guachinango is a festival that happens each year from January 24th to February 2nd, and it dates back to the 1800s. However, from 1800 to 1914 they only had one official day dedicated to honoring La Virgen del la Purificacion. This was done by offering a mass service in her honor.
It wasn’t until 1915 that Father Bibiano M Mena, a priest in Guachinago from 1908-1920 made changes to this tradition. During his time as the senior priest, Guahinango was facing a lot of corruption, abuse of power, immorality especially towards young women by the military. The town was also set on fire by a revolutionary guerrilla that was trying to flee the town. Father Mena promised La Virgen de la Purificacion that if she saved the town and its people they would have a celebration in her honor every February 2nd. This celebration was proceeded with a solemn novena that start January 24th. Since 1915 Fiestas Patronales are celebrated for nine days. It’s a tradition where not only the town comes together but it’s also a major attraction for tourism. Each day of the festivities is dedicated to a special cause or group of people. January 31st and February 2nd are the two dates that are always dedicated to a special group of people. January 31st is dedicated and sponsored by Los Hijos Ausentes (The Absent Children). Which celebrates and is dedicated to all the family members from Gauachinago now living in The United States. February 2nd is dedicated to the towns youth. The rest of the days are assigned to different groups that wish to solicit and sponsor the day’s event.
Traditions and Festivities
Everyday starts with a 12pm pilgrimage Pious. The town gathers on the main street of the town. Some people are observers other take part in the pilgrimage where the guest of honor is La Virgen de la Purificacion. They honor her by offering fresh flowers as well as other offerings. The pilgrimage ends at the church which is followed by a mass. After mass, the town gathers at the municipal plaza for fellowship, food, live music, and endless celebrations. The celebrations can go on for hours because one thing about Mexicans, they sure know how to party.
The pictures I’m sharing with you today are form last year when I had the pleasure of partaking of this tradition with a few family members including my son. The pictures are a compilation of the first few days of the festival. Tomorrow I will share on the blog pictures from the last day and the main day of the festival so stay tuned.
As always, thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to comment below.
LYDIA GILLIS PHOTOGRAPHY is Denver based and Destination Wedding Photographer, Seniors and Personal Branding Photographer.