Enjoy the Fiestas of Guanajuato
If you haven’t been to the State of Guanajuato, consider adding it to your bucket list. Whether traveling with your family, on business, or solo, Guanajuato has fun activities and inspiring places for everyone.
Nestled in the heart of Mexico, you can fly, drive, or go by bus to Guanajuato. If flying, an excellent central location to fly into is El Bajio International Airport (BJX), just 25 minutes away by car from the capital city, also called Guanajuato, and 30 minutes from León.
Today’s focus is Guanajuato’s Fiestas! Nearly every small town and city has multiple fiestas each year. Many are grounded in religious festivals, and you often know the party is starting when the church bells clang or the trumpets blare their fanfare.
With so many beautiful festivals and fiestas in Guanajuato, I can’t possibly list them all here, but here are some of my favorites:
La Feria Estatal de León (The León State Fair)
When: Every year at the end of January
Where: Blvd. Adolfo López Mateos 1820. Col. La Martinica, León, Gto.
What to see and do: Live shows, often called Palenque, include famous singers and musicians, carnival rides, food, leather products, and one of the biggest cattle expositions in the country.
Baile de las Flores y Viernes de Dolores (Dance of the Flowers and the Friday of the Holy Virgin Mary)
When: The Thursday and Friday before Palm Sunday
Where: Streets of the City of Guanajuato, Gto
What to see and do: With flowers, ice cream, dancing and almost everyone in the streets, this is a truly original, enchanting, colorful, tasty, and fun event. This one can be an all-nighter if you want it to be.
It gets going on Thursday night with dance parties. Participants dance until the early morning and then head for the town center to eat ice cream and buy flowers. Then, a little later in the morning on Friday, around the gazebo at El Jardin, a sort of movement starts where boys walk in a circle in one direction and girls in the other. Remember those flowers everyone bought earlier? Well, as the boys and girls pass each other, they hand flowers to their favorites. Later on Friday, you can walk around this picturesque city and view the many altars decorated to celebrate La Virgen de los Dolores (St Mary, the Virgin Mother).
Semana Santa (Holy Week)
When: Easter Week
Where: In every town and city. With special events in Guanajuato, Salamanca, and Celaya.
What to see and do: Easter week in Mexico is still profoundly religious, where the celebrations are both solemn and beautiful. Each city has its own special way of commemorating Holy Week. In Celaya, there is a well-known and very solemn Procesión del Silencio (Silent procession) on Holy Friday. The City of Guanajuato explodes with the fragrance of chamomile, as every corner of every church is covered on Holy Thursday with the freshly picked flowers during the “Visita a los 7 Templos” (Visitation at the 7 Churches). This is a special experience you cannot miss as the faithful visit seven churches each, viewing special holy week scenes, praying, and collecting a handful of chamomile flowers at each stop to adorn homes.
Another special Holy Week event is the spectacular and moving Funeral procession on Holy Friday, when hundreds of people walk the streets of the city without shoes and carry floats with statues of Mary, Mary Magdalene, St. John, and Christ himself.
Fiestas de San Juan y La Presa de la Olla
Where: Guanajuato City at La Presa de la Olla
What to see and do: The celebration starts the second week in June and continues until the first Monday in July, when the Governor and other municipal authorities gather to release the water from behind the dam (La Presa) in preparation for the rainy season. June 24th is one of the bigger days, since it is also the feast of San Juan (St. John), and participants arrive at the Presa de la Olla to enjoy cultural and sporting events.
Fiesta de los Locos
When: June 10
Where: San Miguel de Allende, Gto
What to see and do: Fiesta de los Locos is an event organized by La Casa de la Cultura de San Miguel de Allende (The House of Culture of San Miguel de Allende). Its origin is religious and based on the festival of St Anthony of Padua (San Antonio de Padua). A colorful parade begins at the Iglesia de San Antonio (The Church of Saint Anthony), located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, and ends at the Iglesia de San Miguel Arcángel (St Michael, the Archangel Church). The participants wear colorful costumes made of old clothes, cardboard boxes, papier mache, cables, masking tape, or anything else that strikes the artist’s fancy (there are a lot of artists in San Miguel). The costumes are usually caricatures of celebrities, politicians, or other famous characters.
Also, groups of musicians and dancers, called “cuadrillas,” dance and sing in the parade, and at least one of these cuadrillas throws candy, which is very popular with the kids.
Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day Celebrations)
When: September 10 - 16
Where: Dolores Hidalgo, Gto
What to see and do: Independence Day is celebrated in every state of Mexico, but it is extra special in Dolores Hidalgo, Gto. For it was here, more than 200 years ago, that the call for Independence, “El Grito de Independencia,” first rung out from Miguel Hidalgo. The celebrations begin on the 10th when locals and tourists alike enjoy the fair including horse racing, sports events, fireworks, music, artesania, and much more. On the night of the 15th, either the Governor of the State or the President of Mexico, who usually presides over the ceremony at least once during his term as President, gives “El Grito de Independencia,” (Viva Mexico, Viva Mexico, Viva Mexico) from Dolores Hidalgo. The celebration is fun, colorful, and happy.
These are some of my favorites, but there are many more fiestas in Guanajuato. Start adding them to your bucket list. It doesn’t matter which event you choose because you are sure to be enchanted by the people, the colors, the aromas, and the spirit of the fiestas of Guanajuato.
Come to Guanajuato!