Known as ‘the San Francisco of Mexico’, the city of San Miguel is known for its artsy atmosphere, colonial buildings, magnificent cathedrals, rich heritage and of course, lively festivals.
Due to the impact of art communities, the festivals and celebrations of San Miguel de Allende not only represent the Mexican culture and traditions but also manifest quite a cosmopolitan style thereby attracting tourists from all across the globe.
In addition to large festivals around Saint’s Day and other Mexican holidays, the town of San Miguel de Allende also has all of the typical church-related festivities plus more, celebrating classical music, jazz, fine food and wine in full swing.
If you enjoy music, good food and wine, dance and theater, you must not miss the opportunity of observing these vibrant festivals happening in San Miguel, Mexico.
Semana Santa (Holy Week)
In no other place in Mexico is Semana Santa (Holy Week) observed with such devoutness as in San Miguel de Allende. Here, the ‘Holy Week’ is not really just a week. The celebrations begin two weeks prior to Easter and continue into the week after. Areas around churches and the main roadways are full with merry processions, fireworks, special Masses, native dance performances and open-air concerts, creating an immensely lively scene. All across the town there are decorations made with dried palm leaves or white and purple flowers. One of the key events during the Holy Week celebrations is a procession that starts from Sanctuary of Atotonilco and ends at San Juan de Dios Church. Marchers carry images of Our Lord of the Column and halt from time to time to pray and sing. At the break of day, thousands of onlookers meet the marchers with bells and fireworks at San Juan de Dios.
Festival Internacional de Musica de Camara (Chamber Music Festival)
In the month of August every year, much of the Western Hemisphere gathers on San Miguel de Allende for its world-famous Chamber Music Festival. The festival, which spans several days and attracts international talent, converts churches, theaters, cafes and the town square into concert halls. There are performances by professional musicians from Latin America and beyond and there is also an ‘emerging artist program’ dedicated to featuring work from younger artists and upcoming talent. Just like most other Mexican festivals, the exact dates and venue tend to be indefinite so it is a good idea to confirm details as the event approaches.
Festival Internacional de Jazz & Blues
San Miguel de Allende flashes its cosmopolitan side in the annual International Jazz and Blues Festival held in November and December. Featuring a host of artists performing Latin, traditional jazz, blues, swing and Motown music, the event goes on for several days. The festival has both, free and ticketed events, and also music workshops. Important sites for concerts include La Luciernaga Plaza, Parque Cloutier, Teatro Angela Peralta and Jardin, the town centre. During this festival, bars and clubs also host jam sessions for music lovers, plus events like art openings, theatre performances, dances and barbeques are also organized around the town.
Sabor San Miguel Viking
Held in March every year, the Sabor San Miguel Viking is a festival celebrating good food and wine. The festival was initiated to publicize Mexico’s rich food culture, and it completely fits the bill. Featuring popular musicians, dancers and, of course, samples and booths of gourmet food, drinks and kitchen equipments, this is truly a unique event of San Miguel.
Fiesta de San Antonio de Padua
This religious festival is celebrated on the 13th of June all over Latin America but San Miguel de Allende puts its own unique touch to the celebrations by featuring a parade known as Los Locos, or ‘the crazy ones’. The parade consists of locals in masks and costumes dancing through the streets of San Miguel.
Martin Cowell is a blogger and real estate agent in Riviera Maya, Mexico. He blogs for I Own Akumal