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Mojiangas: Who are they and where do they come from??

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!

 

Mojigangas patiently waiting in their closet for their next debut

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

The Essence of San Miguel: the cobblestone streets

You know you have finally made it to San Miguel when your teeth start to chatter, your bones start to rattle, and the van that picked you up from the airport slows down to a gentle coast of 15 mph. It is the cobblestone streets that greet you when you enter San Miguel….

and it is the cobblestone streets that bid you farewell as you leave.

 

Many would agree the cobblestone streets are what give San Miguel its charm and essence, along with the colonial architecture, impeccable lighting and fresh mountain air. There is something about it all that captures your heart, but especially the cobblestones as you notice how they have been placed carefully side by side just like chocolate truffles in a box. From the perspective of a millennial, it is like a scene from a video game (Super Mario Sunshine to be exact).

Sometimes one can not help but stare at these hundred year-old stones and wonder what they have seen. Hundreds of years have gone by and all the while hundreds of donkeys, horses, carriages, wedding parades, funeral processions, strikers, movie stars, who have come and gone, yet these immortal stones remain.

 

The cobblestones are excellent indicators of what time of the year it is too with traces of confetti, jacaranda flowers, a gruesome layer of dust during the dry season or a rushing stream of water after a summer shower. The cobblestones are their own terrain within themselves and we love and appreciate them like the wise old oak trees of Texas.

In the words of our dear friend Kirsten West, “The cobblestones are actually one of the best free foot massages in San Miguel de Allende!”

Written by Anna Louise Judson

 

¡Benito the Donkey!

What is it that makes the “callejoneada” or traditional Mexican wedding processional the pure ecstasy that it is? Is it the abundantly flowing tequila served in little “jarritos?” Could it be the energy blasting from the horns of the mariachis leading the parade? Or maybe the outrageoulsy comical “mojiganga” puppets, the massive caricatures created to look like a giant exaggerated version of the couple? Alright, lets be real, all of those are pretty unique and necessary parts that make the callejoneada what it is but the icing on the cake is Benito the donkey.

 

Alas yes, the party starts with an ass. But really, Benito is the carrier of all things good including baskets filled to the brim with the jarritos that get distributed to each guest as well as the booze for the jarritos. The callejoneada is an intoxicating event, but I am not talking about intoxication via booze.

It is the music of the mariachis exploding vibrantly in each guests ear like one of the bursting Mexican paper flowers while mojigangas dance in front of the procession with the newly weds. The sun sets in the background, the church bells ring in the distance, and the town can not help but feel the undeniable energy of the parade. Utterly intoxicating to all the senses including the soul, one simply can not help but beam at the sight.

 

It is said that the donkey is a symbol of humility and peace, which is ironic seeing that such festivities the donkey leads are quite the opposite of peaceful. Regardless, we love our trusty pal Benito and all the joy he carries along in his little baskets.

Written by Anna Louise Judson

 

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