Tuxpan St. Sebastian chayacates festivities

Tuxpan, Jalisco, is located in the southwestern part of the state of Jalisco, Mexico, very near to the state of Colima.  You gotta love a place whose motto is “The Pueblo of the Eternal Fiesta,” and which welcomes you to town with the statue above of one of their nationally known rattle and ribbon vest dancers. 

While Tuxpan has its fair share of fiestas, one of the best and biggest is that celebrating St. Sebastian.  The fiesta runs from January 20 to February 2 each year.  St. Sebastian is the one normally depicted as being tied up with lots of arrows sticking out of him.  You know, like this one found on Wikipedia:

And somehow, ironically, he became the patron saint of … among others … archers, like this young fellow in Tuxpan:

On February 2, Tuxpan culminates the fiesta of San Sebastian and combines it with the celebration of Candlemas.  If you don’t know what Candlemas is, I’ll leave it to you to look it up on your favorite search engine since the subject matter is a little, let’s say, delicate …. and I’m not talking about the presentation of Jesus at the temple part. 

As in most Mexican parades and fiestas, there are elements of native beliefs combined with Catholic beliefs.  So you get a group of marchers in ancient costumes marching into the temple.  [WARNING:  NPC … non politically correct comments to follow.  And, yes, from me, a trained anthropologist!]

These folks, like the statue at the entrance to Tuxpan, are sonajeros, or rattle dancers.  Not only do they wear the ribbon vests, they also carry the large rattles like the one the statue has in hand. 

Also in the parade are the Chayacates dancers, who are known for their deer antler headdresses and long hair.  Different groups have different colored “hair” and wear different types of clothing.  In my head, I’ve named the groups.  Here’s one that I like to call the “Smurf” group:

Here’s the “Purple gang” with a close up of their leader:

One of my favorites, the “George Clinton Parliament/Funkadelic” group.  And if you are too young or too old to remember who that is, again use your favorite search engine to find out.  [Aside:  Shortly after George Bush, the father, was defeated in the US presidential election by Bill Clinton, I fell and got what turned out to be a concussion.  At the emergency room, the attending doctor asked me the “usual” questions … my name, the date, the year, and who was president of the US.  I flew through all the questions, including the one about who the president of the US was, to which I answered “George Clinton.”  The doctor, who was about my age, went into gales of laughter and said, “We wish!”]

Then there was the group of “yellow hairs” or “General Custers”, large and small:

They were followed by the group I like to call the “Dumbledores” in a shout out to Harry Potter:

Which, in turn, were followed by the “MBAs.”

Who were followed by my own personal favorites, the “barb’s hair” group!  If you’ve ever known me, you’ll know what I’m talking about! 

In fact, I myself got into the parade!

It’s a great parade, and if you live in Mexico, I urge you to attend.  If you are in the Lake Chapala area, it’s only about a two hour drive from here. 

Ladies of all genders, I leave you with this picture.  In my opinion, and, as Bob Dylan said, “If I can’t have my own opinion, who’s can I have?”,  best looking guy I’ve seen in Mexico so far!  He alone is worth the trip!

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About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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7 Responses to Tuxpan St. Sebastian chayacates festivities

  1. You have to admit that this pueblo really knows how to throw a fiesta! Joco doesn’t have quite the Amerindian traditions of other towns. Thanks for sharing your trip Barbara.

    Found this outstanding reference to Candlemas:
    http://www.churchyear.net/candlemas.html

    Tuxpan has my kind of a tradition; Eating Tamales and Drinking Hot Chocolate. Mexican hot chocolate is “diferente” than in Anglo countries. Less sweet and with canela/cinnamon. Muy delicioso.

    — Miguel de Joco

    • Barbara says:

      mike, i am always amazed by the time and effort that local folks are willing to expend on their own pueblo’s festivals. and whether by neighborhood, church parish, or social/business association, everybody chips in to put on something fun that the rest of the community can enjoy at no cost. as my coblogger karen mentioned to me in an email, when the dalai lama was asked how to achieve world peace, his response was ‘more festivals!” so i think mexico is definitely working on it …. even though we have some serious internal issues to resolve!

  2. Gigi says:

    This looks like a terrific event, one I must put on our list! I love the colors, the beautiful day, and those rattles. This is all so different from other parades, and your pix are great! Missing you!

    • Barbara says:

      gigi, you would LOVE this parade. marchers coming from three directions converge in front of the church and you’re just surrounded by the sights and sounds. in fact, i got the close up shot of one of the marchers because i was in the middle of the street taking pictures of the group coming from one direction, when i realized i was engulfed by marchers coming from another direction. but at least nobody knocked me down and trampled over me….probably because they thought i was a member of the “barb’s hair” group!

      missing you and chuck, too. wish you would come back soon to see all your friends down here!

  3. Barbara says:

    oh, and i found out what chayacates means. it means “masked.”

  4. Pingback: Photos from Bali, Tien An Men (China) and Ireland. Festivals and fiestas in Mexico « Calogero Mira and Travel

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