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 might occur at random over the next couple of weeks, conventional wisdom among villagers holds that the final day of the novenario (nine day celebration) marks the beginning of the summer’s wet season.
Each day of the fiestas patronales is heralded at 6 a.m. with pealing church bells and booming sky rockets, followed by the celebration of Mass at noon and 7 p.m. at the San Antonio de Padua Parish. As dusk falls, the faithful will gather in the church atrium at 6:30 p.m. to parade around town as a prelude to the evening service. The processions customarily feature ritual dancers dressed in colorful Indian costumes, toddlers decked out in friar’s frocks emulating Saint Anthony, motorized floats decorated to represent sacred themes, and one or more marching bands.