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New Book Sheds Light on the Annual Locos Parade’s Obscure History

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By Jesús Aguado

The Locos Parade is an annual tradition that takes over the streets of the Historic Center, filling it with music, colors, and exuberance. Now a local historian has documented that tradition in a book.

Luis Felipe Rodríguez Palacios’s oral history, Los Locos…Una realidad de locura (The Locos…The Reality Behind the Madness), unravels the mysteries of what is hands-down San Miguel de Allende’s noisiest fiesta. The Locos Parade, which this year occurs on Sunday, June 16, at noon, is known for its vibrant costumes, lively music and dancing, and the Mardi Gras-like ritual of participants throwing out candies to spectators, who shout “Dulces, dulces!” in hopes of attracting the locos to throw some sweets their way.

According to city numbers, about 15,000 locos participate, and spectators, who come from all over México, can reach as many as 100,000.

Rodríguez Palacios’s book looks at the origins of the event, including its founders, its mask makers, and its evolution from a devout ceremony during the eighteenth century to the raucous citywide event of today, in which Sanmiguelenses put on masks and costumes and dance to songs played by live bands who proceed with them throughout Centro. Rodríguez Palacios interviewed dozens of people involved in the parade over decades.

The State Institute of Culture financed the 142-page book, of which there are only 500 copies in print. At a presentation in town on June 5, city officials gave out copies. In the near future, the city plans to give out more copies to others involved in the tradition. Rodríguez said that all of San Miguel’s libraries will receive five copies each.

 

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