Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos hosts back-to-back festivities this month, with celebrations honoring religious patron Santo Santiago (St. James the Greater) under way through Thursday, July 25, continuing on through the weekend with the annual Festival del Membrillo, showcasing the summer harvest of quince, the town’s signature fruit.
Wrapped into the town’s lively fiestas patronales are colorful religious processions taking place every morning and afternoon, nighttime entertainment and fireworks displays at the central plaza, family-oriented fun with mechanical rides and games of chance, and a street fair where booths are stocked with food, drink, crafts and miscellanea. The following days of the quince fest will feature commercial displays of diverse products made from the fruit and culinary contests, along with more of the above.
Ixtlahuacán is among hundreds of Mexican towns that embrace Santo Santiago as a spiritual hero. The patron saint of Spain was introduced to Mexico in the 16th century by Christian friars to aid in their quest to vanquish pagan beliefs. In many places, celebrations in the saint’s honor are noted for vivid portrayals of his legendary battles against the forces of evil represented by masked dancers. Aside from Ixtlahuacán, spectacular festivities include the famed Tastoanes of Tonala, the Tlahualiles of Sahuayo, Michoacán on Lake Chapala’s south shore and Los Tastuanes in Moyahua, Zacatecas.