Both a colorful and cultural day here in Mexico — Dia del la Candelaria. The holiday has religious significance and origin, but is celebrated in many ways…
Historically, Candelaria commemorated the day – 41 days after the birth of Jesus – that Mary brought the baby Jesus to church for the first time. New mothers were not allowed to go out into public for 40 days after giving birth and it was customary to bring the newborn to the temple after that period.
In Mexico, Candelaria is a follow-up to the festivities of Kings Day as well. On January 6th, the Rosca de Reyes sweet bread is enjoyed at gatherings of family and friends and the person who receives a baby figurine hidden inside of it is chosen to host a party on Candelaria. Tamales and atole are served.
But in San Miguel de Allende, Candelaria is also the weekend when dozens of vendors gather in Parque Juarez to sell live plants. Row after row of vibrant colors greet you as you walk the garden. Even non-gardener types would be tempted to leave with bundles of plants. Eager children follow behind you with empty wheelbarrows, waiting to help you carry your purchases home.
But to me, the day is a tribute to a glorious climate. A celebration of spring on February 2nd! Far in advance of the official start of spring on March 21st, it reminds us how fortunate we are to live with sunshine and mild temperatures much of the year. To me, Candelaria is a vivid affirmation of why we chose to call San Miguel home.