It's also the absolute height of the tourist season, with dozens of gallery openings, films, lectures, conferences, literary readings, and other goings-on every week.
February 2 - Día de la Candelaria (Candlemas Day). This religious holiday marks the 40th day after the birth of Jesus. Special masses involve the blessing of seeds for fertility and candles, representing the light of the world.
In San Miguel, Candlelaria is the unofficial beginning of spring and it's become famous for andthe plant flower sales held in Juarez Park. Dozens of vendors line the walkways of the park, selling everything imaginable for the garden. People stroll the paths planning the year's plantings. Young boys with wheelbarrows scurry about, carrying bedding plants and bougainvilleas, terra cotta planters and potting soil, to the cars and trucks parked on the street. In San Miguel, Candlelaria is the unofficial beginning of spring.
Also on this night, Mexican families have a traditional party. Whatever family member got the baby doll in the Rosca de Reyes bread on January 6th has to provide tamales and atole for the family party tonight. Atole is a delicious hot cornstarch drink that's a bit like drinking hot thin pudding. If you'd like to try it yourself, check out this delicious and really easy atole recipe.
February 5 - Constitution Day (legal holiday), marking the ratification of the Mexican Constitution in 1917. Schools, banks, and other bureaucracies are closed, and there is usually a parade somewhere in town.
Note: Since 2006, most legal holidays are now celebrated on the Monday nearest the traditional date.
February 19 - Day of the Army. Look for military parades.
February 13-15 (2010) - Carnaval (a movable feast) - When walking through the Jardín on the weekend before Ash Wednesday, stay alert. Vendors will be surrounding the square selling big baskets of cascarones, dyed eggs filled with confetti, glitter and/or cornstarch. These are perfectly designed for breaking over the heads of friends and strangers alike. Kids especially get a giggle out of bashing them on the noggins of unwary gringos. If you don't go home covered in confetti, you haven't properly been to the Jardín on Carnaval weekend (Mardi Gras). This is also the day to buy the huge crepe paper flowers that make such colorful home decor. Women will be sitting on the walls all around the Jardín selling them for a few pesos each.
February 24 - Flag Day. Another patriotic holiday with parades and civic events around the Jardín. At 10 am, a patriotic ceremony is held at the Plaza de los Héroes on the Salida a Querétaro (el "Mirador").
February 15 (2010) - Ash Wednesday. Today marks the beginning of Lent. Special masses in most churches in town. One special food to be on the look out for throughout the Lenten season is capirotada, a delicious and very traditional Mexican bread pudding that includes cheese. It's easy to make at home. Here's an authentic Mexican
recipe for capirotada.
For more information on what's happening and specific times and other details of February events in San Miguel de Allende, check the Que Pasa calendar pages of
Atencion San Miguel.