San Pascual Bailón
By Sandra Ríos
The feast of San Pascual Bailón is celebrated on May 17 in San Miguel de Allende. A little story about its beginnings tells that in the vegetable gardens in La Villa de San Miguel el Grande were indigenous people and their families who worked and were being catechized in the Catholic faith. They knew that in Spain, the patron saint of gardeners was San Pascual Bailon, who was once in charge of the garden, orchard, and kitchen in his monastery. They immediately identified with the holy saint, and they adapted their traditions to him, such as singing and dancing. To practice their dance, the gardeners wore decorations according to their own jobs. Women adorned themselves with kitchen utensils, and men, with farm tools. They were organized by families. Over time families were organized in guilds, and in the Third Order Church, a Mass was said every May 17 in honor of San Pascual. The dance crews danced in the atrium, and at the end, the priest moved to the orchards to bless the fruit. Afterward, the doors were opened to all neighbors. They could eat all the fruit that they wanted, but could not take any to their homes. The desire to see these dances grew, especially the ones highlighted by the “gardeners” and “bulls,” which later became what is now known as the dance of “Los Locos” due to the diversity of bizarre costumes and dances.
On May 17, at 12:40pm the tour will begin at Quinta de Umarán 11, heading down San Pedro Street, Indio Triste, San Antonio Abad, Insurgentes, Pepe Llanos, Juarez, San Francisco, Plaza Principal, and Canal, and reaching the atrium of the Church of San Juan de Dios around 2pm.
At 7pm, the Organizing Committee of the Locos will deliver a tribute to the family Martínez Gutiérrez for their 62 years of involvement in this tradition in the church of San Juan de Dios.
Involved will be a group of 30 mojigangas, the dance of Pluma Chimalli, and the San Pascual Bailón group, among others.