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“Dress rehearsal” for the Alborada

By Antonio de Jesús Aguado

On Friday, September 20 (eight days before the Alborada), at 5pm the Association of Festivities and Traditions of San Miguel de Allende will hold the 13th edition of the review of the Alborada (dawn), a sort of dress rehearsal for the main event.

The Alborada is a sanmiguelense tradition dating from December 8, 1924. In that year a textile factory was closed in Salvatierra, Guanajuato, and the employees, who venerated the Virgin of the Light, were relocated to Fábrica la Aurora in San Miguel. Here, they substituted the Virgin of the Light with the Virgin of the Conception and reinstituted the celebrations they had held in Salvatierra, including lots of fireworks, mojigangas and the procession of giant colored stars. According to traditionalist and former employee of La Aurora Emigdio Ledesma, the populace of that time, including the mayor and the parish priest, were surprised and delighted with the celebration, and for that reason they asked the employees to celebrate the Alborada in honor of St. Michael the Archangel. So, since 1925 the patron saint has had his very special day.

The Alborada (on September 27 this year) starts with small fairs in the some of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, including La Aurora, Valle del Maíz and La Estación. At 2am, to the rhythm of live music, residents dance with large stars mounted on poles and mojigangas and leave their neighborhoods in a procession toward the Jardín Principal. At approximately 4am the three processions arrive at the intersection of Hidalgo, Plaza Principal and Canal, and from there they walk to the Parroquia and sing “Las Mañanitas” to St. Michael the Archangel. Starting at 4am hundreds of fireworks are burned during the two-hour explosive celebration.

Gloria Rodríguez Navarrete, from the local administration’s department of traditions, commented that the review of the Alborada was held for the first time by members of the Ballet Foclórico de San Miguel in order to preserve the tradition and they invite the entire family to attend and bring their children, “without alcohol but with lots of enjoyment.”

Rodríguez also commented that the review is held to remember those who brought the tradition to the city, such as Camilo González, who first constructed the large stars, and Eusebio García Resendiz, who brought mojigangas to SanMiguel.

For the review of the Alborada, dancers, mojigangas and musicians gather at Calzada de la Aurora and Puente de Guanajuato, and at 6pm they walk toward the Jardín and meet up at Canal and Hidalgo. From there, they walk together to the Parroquia to sing “Las Mañanitas” to the patron saint.

Outside, the musicians continue playing, the mojigangas and the attendees dance on a stage set up in Plaza Principal. This year, the Folkloric Ballet from Poza Rica will dance at 8:30pm. Later, toritos (firework displays in the shape of a bull) will be set off.

Check out the whole program of the review in Que Pasa.


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