Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos is one of the numerous Mexican towns that embrace Santo Santiago (St. James the Greater) as patron saint.
Wrapped into the town’s lively fiestas patronales, underway through Wednesday, July 25, are colorful religious processions taking place each morning and afternoon, nighttime entertainment and firework displays at the central plaza, as well as the adjacent street fair where booths are stocked with food, drink, crafts and miscellanea.
Patron saint of Spain, Santo Santiago was introduced to Mexico in the 16th century to aid Christian friars in vanquishing pagan beliefs.
During celebrations in the saint’s honor, portrayals of his legendary battles against the forces of evil are performed by the famed masked Tastones of Tonala, similar ritual dancers in Ixtlahaucan and the spectacular Tlahualiles of Sahuayo, Michoacán.
Festivities in Ixtlahuacán will continue July 27 through 29, during the fourth annual Festival del Membrillo showcasing the town’s signature fruit – the quince. The program includes a culinary competition featuring quince-based beverages, desserts and dishes, as well as commercial displays of diverse products made from the fruit.