I have a Friday morning ritual. I walk 3 blocks to the jardin, buy a copy of the bi-lingual weekly newspaper, Atencion San Miguel and sit down at my favorite cafe on the corner of the jardin and El Correo. In my opinion, they serve the best coffee in town, Illy coffee. I order two cups of coffee -- first a cafe con leche (latte), bien caliente (very hot), then an Americano (American coffee), served with a tiny pitcher of warm milk.
Then, I peruse Que Pasa, the newspaper's calendar of arts, lectures, etc. for the coming week and circle the lectures and events that I might like to attend. Since I'm on a budget, I look for free events first. There are several free arts and cultural events and social groups each week and some that cost 60 pesos ($4.60) or less, for example play readings for only 20 pesos, less than $2.
This week's Que Pasa lists all of the events for the Fiestas Patrias, the celebration of Mexican Independence!
On Sunday there is a race to commemorate the Conspiracy for Independence.
Monday, the Conspirators Horse Ride through the streets to the jardin.
Tuesday is a really big day! "El Grito" (the cry for independence) night in the jardin with the Ballet Folklorico at 8 pm.
10:45 pm: The carrying of the Mexican flag to Ignacio Allende's house.
10:55 pm, the arrival of the athletes with a symbolic Liberty Fire at the Plaza Principal
11 pm the mayor leads a ceremony of El Grito! This year the newly elected mayor, Lucy Nunez, the first woman presidenta municipal (mayor) may be the first to shout "El Grito" from the balcony of the Museo Casa de Allende followed by a spectacular display of fireworks.The grito usually acknowledges the heroes of the independence by shouting their names -- Viva Hidalgo! Viva Allende! Viva Aldama! etc. Then, shouting the name of the town, for example, Viva San Miguel de Allende! followed by Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!
My friend wondered why everyone carries a collapsed cardboard box or an umbrella to El Grito. Apparently, people hold them over their heads so they don't get burned by the falling sparks of the fireworks -- now that is a lot of fireworks!
Here's a slide show from last year's celebration. You can see the beautiful Parroquia, the fireworks and all of the umbrellas!
Midnight on: Fiesta!!
Wednesday- Military Parade, Mexican Independence Horse Riding and more fireworks!
Friday - Parade and Fair
Que Pasa also lists religious and spiritual meetings for the week -- Catholic masses, of course, but also Episcopal, Baptist, Jewish - Shalom SMA, Unitarian (of which I've attended here), and even Quaker, Mormon, Baha'i and Sufi! On Friday 9/18, for example, there is a Rosh Hashana dinner at 6 pm at a local restaurant followed by a service at 7:30 pm. This diversity reflects the thousands of American retirees who call San Miguel de Allende home.
Bridge classes, rubber bridge, backgammon, writers' & readers' forum, guitar workshop, bird walks, yoga, pilates, astrology lecture, art openings & receptions, films, concerts, plays -- something for everyone -- even daily meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, other 12-step meetings and a bereavement support group.
Click here to see the Que Pasa calendar for the coming week!