Here you are, walking about in the streets of San Miguel, taking in all the colors and smells that surround you. Suddenly, you hear mariachis bursting down the street. Two giant puppets tower above you and a parade of joyful wedding-goers surround you in a whirlwind of laughter and tequila. It is like something straight out of a fairy tale, the experience is truly surreal! So, the question remains…what are these 15ft. tall puppets and where on earth do they come from?
Mojigangas, as they are formally called, originated in Spain and were brought to Mexico in the 1600´s. They were satirically fashioned to ridicule public figures or used as comic relief during religious pilgrimmages. Now, they can be seen throughout San Miguel either hanging out in the town square, or dancing around, leading wedding parades or “callejoneadas” with energy and delight.
What are these giants made of, you ask? Get a load of this: they are literally part firework structure (the body) and part piñata (the head). No joke! It is no wonder these silly giants evoke so much joy, they are made of fireworks and piñatas!
There are a variety of mojigangas who live in a closet and are chosen according to the look of the newly wedded couple. They are then allowed to dance in the streets giving everyone smiles until they are retired back to their closet, awaiting their next callejoneada.
These puppets are certainly one of the more important ingredients of San Miguel and truly add to the magic of the town.
Written by Anna Louise Judson