Rain, thunder and plenty of man-made commotion are hallmarks of the traditional festivities held from June 5 through 13 in San Antonio Tlayacapan in tribute to the town’s religious patron, Saint Anthony of Padua.
Although cloudbursts are likely to occur throughout the coming week, conventional wisdom holds that the final day of the novenario (nine day celebration) marks the beginning of summer’s wet season.
Each day of the celebration is heralded at 6 a.m. with pealing church bells and a barrage of booming sky rockets. As evening falls the faithful gather at different points in the village to parade through the streets as a prelude to 7:30 p.m. mass at the San Antonio parish. The processions feature adorable toddlers decked out in friar’s frocks, ritual dancers dressed in colorful Indian costumes, marching bands and motorized floats decorated to represent sacred themes. Processions are customarily scheduled at 7 p.m. on all dates except June 13 when the starting time is set at 6 p.m.
The secular side of the celebration unfolds immediately after evening church services with a fun-filled verbena popular (fair) centered at the plaza. Attractions include live musical entertainment, mechanical rides, carnival games and a wide array of trinkets, snacks foods and beverages hawked from the sidewalk stands. Barring major downpours, the festivity culminates each night with a dazzling castillo fireworks display ignited between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m.
Motorists should bear in mind that streets located in a one block radius around the plaza will be blocked while the festivities are under way.