Archive for June, 2007

June 23, 2007

The Locos Parade San Miguel de Allende

The week long festival of San Antonio de Padua culminates with the ‘Locos’ parade of over 10,000 participants in costume. This first float of San Antonio, brings on the throng of costumed revelers.

The altar is filled with flowers, decorations and flowers.

Wizard princesses….

and the grand wizards start the festivities

Every neighborhood in San Miguel has its own group of locos or crazies, who attend local and neighborhood festivals, and for this one, they convene together to celebrate their loco-ness

From celebrities…

To death, devils and Fidel Castro

Beautiful women and Mexican luchadors

Payasos, payasos…

Carnaval and cartoon characters

Elaborate costumes

and old dancers..

Kewpie like dolls

Cowgirls and cowboys

Fantastical creatures

Hours and hours are spent creating masks, costumes, floats, and perfecting routines.

The range of masks is from paper mache, to cloth, to rubber and plastic.

Pirates with warts on their noses

The Mojigangas, without which a parade would not be complete. Standing about 12 to 15 feet tall, they weave in and out of the crowd, lowering their heads into your face.

The traditional man and woman

Woman of the night…

Groups of luchadors – Rey Misterio, La Parka, Santo and others

Clowns and pirates and big haired women

Baby diablo on his father’s shoulders – his initiation into the big parade.

And, buzz lightyear –

Characters and more characters

Death and skeletons

Hooded figures

More clowns and theatre faces

Monsters and gremlins

The creativity in the hand made masks and costumes is as good as it gets, but unlike the Macy’s parade, this is completely local and hecho a mano!

Saddam with donkey ears, devils, clowns and Santo luchador. No one is left out of the melee.

Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker and Goofy too.


Luchadors fighting in the back of a pickup truck with the foxy babe.

Clowns throwing candy

Huevos in pigtails and hats following the conquistador

Mysterio, handing out candy with reaper behind him

Hands out for candy as the pirates go by

The campesino

Masks worn on the back of heads

What a set of lips!

Some of the best clowns you have ever seen

A young girl between death and George Bush

Vaca loco, death, muertos, skeletons


Shreck wearing Winnie the Pooh

More Death coming….

Mother earth brings up the end

While the early paraders rest on the sidewalk

And the crowds disperse to the south

to the west


and East

And the workers from the local shops stand in the bouganvilla lined entries, hoping for a last glimpse

© All rights reserved, June 2007, Dos Mujeres Mexican Folk Art

June 15, 2007

Corpus Christi San Miguel de Allende

The procession for Corpus Christi, June, 2007

© All rights reserved, June 2007, Dos Mujeres Mexican Folk Art

June 7, 2007

Festival of Santa Cruz

Festival of Santa Cruz in the Valle del Maiz, San Miguel de Allende – a week long celebration of Santa Cruz, a religious and Indian/pagan ritual and ceremony time.

An altar placed at the entrance of Valle del Maiz, where celebration begins at 4 am with the Alborrada — non-stop fireworks from 4 until 8am, starting off the ceremonies, parades, religious services, dances and games.

Callejon Valle del Maiz – replica of ancient painting at the entrance to the town. The street is heavily decorated with plastic cut design flags, banners made from colorful drinking straws and decorations made from palm, paper flowers and greenery.

Honorary ‘caminoneta’ with shrine to santa cruz, decorated in shiny fabric, netting, flowers and paraded through the town.

Archway entry to the church/town with arrangemets made from the inner stalk of a certain type of palm. At the church there are large xuchiles, made from the same material & decorated with flowers.

As you enter the plaza area it is filled with people, dancers, music and these large mojigangas – greater than life size puppets that are worn over the body in the daily parades.

‘La Nueva Era’ a covered truck that holds the ‘castillo’ firework towers that will be fired off in the evening.

close up of the workings of a castillo — firecracker like fireworks that are woven together over towers of palm/rattan that stand about 50 feet tall and give off about an hour of spinning fire showers.

More Mojigangas plus three smaller pancho puppets. The large figure’s eyes can be manipulated to open and close.

Skeleton woman and woman of the night

la Bruja

The banda, getting ready to bring on the cross dresser dancing!

Waiting for the next dance — eating gorditas & carnitas.

There isn’t a lot of food here, but there is cotton candy

Young chichemeca dancer

Young woman, Chichemeca dancer, between dances in her painted robes.

Another decorated truck — back from the parade

Just when you want to think this is a serious religious, historical, traditional fiesta, this afternoon dance – all men dressed as women – and I have to say that there were some pretty good women imitators in this group, you could hardly tell who was a woman and who was a man.

The conga line

As soon as the dancing was done, they brought out the greased pigs in plastic bags. This boy was enamored with this baby piglet, and opened the bag so we could have a peek.

and the winner is??? one of our best cross dressers!

Dancer’s hats against a rock wall

It’s easier to hand food down than to go around

Chichemeca traditonal dances – thundering rhythmic drums, and all the dancers are in a trance.

From the youngest boy, about 5 years old…

To the serious young men..

Tired, resting dancers..

and women..

Most striking was the painting on this man’s face..

Parade of youthful boys in Spanish dress

Zuchiles at the entrance to the church.. and cotton candy

Getting ready for the evening comparsas, where actors put on morality plays before the fireworks. Note the stage set, with santa cruz altar in front and a large painting with a paper mache dove sticking out of the front of it.

The exit arch — popote (drinking straw decorations) criss crossing the street, the cross and palm arch

One final discarded parade mask behind an iron grate.

© All rights reserved, June 2007 , Dos Mujeres Mexican Folk Art

June 5, 2007

Apaseo – Wood Carving Town

Wood carvers of Apaseo June 2007

Apaseo is a small working town, mostly agricultural, but hosts a group of wood workers that carve mostly saints, angels, Jesus figures, along with carnival horses, nativities, and various other works of art. Much of the work is life size, and pieces finished in a surprisingly quick time – a day or two.

Most of the work is sold just outside of town along the highway corridor in shops like these, someone’s home up above with the lower floors dedicated in some cases to carving, but most cases, a rustic showroom.

As we walked into the house, under the covered porch, was this fatastic table base of three large horse heads, complete with gasoline cans, tools, a bench in the general disorder of things.

San Judas Tadeo, patron saint of lost causes

The family altar, mixed in with carvings, empty coke bottles, saints, a carved nativity and Virgin of Guadalupe carved out of a half log.

On the back showroom wall were carvings of small statues, carnival horses, and Don Quixote.

Along the front porchwall is an antique carving of Santiago Matamoros

Juan Araiza, carver and shop keeper

Our friend Aron and myself in an angled room heaped with saints, angels and small animal carvings.

Jesus, saints, angels, and the trademark San Pascual, patron saint of cooking, carved in a goofy way with a large bulbous nose

San Miguel

This was one of my favorite rooms, almost an altar lain flat on the floor with many Jesus figures waiting for the cross, San Miguel, the Virgin of Gudalupe, animals and an ornately carved table which is typical of the furniture made here.

Don Quixote reading a book

The first workshop we visited, where the whole family, even the young women were carving saints.

She has been carving since she was 13 years old, now a viable worker in the family business.

The tools are placed and pounded with the palm of the hand

The younger generation…

Entering the family workshop – Saint Francis lying on a block of wood, great shadows and light.

San Francisco, tools, coffee and cookies.

Unfinished work

The elder generation, carving in the entrance to the home

Herrimientos – tools of the trade

Another workshop. Except for the mother who was cooking, the entire family was carving in the outdoor kitchen, sitting on the floor or on short stumps.

Virgin Mary’s, carnival horses and a thousand chips of wood

San Judas Tadeo in the foreground

The grandfather, resting next to a life size Virgin of guadalupe, with the outdoor grill & washbucket against the back wall.

Across the street, a carver of musicians.

San Charbel, first saint of Lebanon, and a basic carving, unfinished of the Virgin of Guadalupe

Tool storage, photos of saints

Saint carved into a burl

Aron, goofing

The last workshop, where the carvings are larger than life size. This carving is of the Virgin Mary on the moon with a snake.

© All rights reserved, April 2006, Dos Mujeres Mexican Folk Art