Ferris wheel looms over the municipal Delegación building

The Tuesday sun is not long risen and there’s a slight chill in the air as I walk into the village over cobblestone streets.

On other weekdays I would be passing workers headed to their jobs and schoolchildren on their way to class, but this day is different.

Carnival ride awaits the start of Fiesta

Here in Ajijic it’s the day before the beginning of the fiesta patronale – the patron saint Fiesta de San Andres, and as I turn toward the plaza the street is already blocked by waiting carnival rides.

Band member rush to meet the parade

It’s also the 112th anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution… the Dia de la Revolución.

A trio of bass band musicians passes me hastily, rushing toward the Revolution Day parade assembly point, which stretches for several blocks at the eastern end of the village.

I follow them through the plaza past a mural that celebrates the Revolution.

Wall mural of Revolutionary heroes just off the Plaza

Costumed children awaiting the start of the parade

Milling about the parade’s starting point are hundreds of children in costumes ranging from drum-and-bugle corps to heroes of the Revolution, and parents everywhere are making last minute adjustments to fidgeting ninos.

A mother makes last minute costume adjustments

The scene gives me pause for reflection.  American independence, the American Revolution, and the framing of the U.S. constitution unfolded as a virtually unified event spanning only 13 years.  In Mexico these events occurred separately over more than a century, the outcome of each many times cast into doubt.

Two costumed boys pass time before the parade

There’s a case to be made that the Mexican Revolution is still a work in progress.  Its memory is still fresh; the parents of the children in today’s parade grew up at the feet of grandparents who survived it.

Sweeping the street on the parade route

Sweeping the street on the parade route

 

Today education and information technology are giving their children the tools to better practice democracy and hold their government more accountable for the promises made by the Revolution.

 

The parade participants have begun to queue up in marching order. Along the route women are sweeping the cobblestones.

Waiting for the parade to pass

Families are collecting in windows and doorways in anticipation.

 

The last census pegged Ajijic’s population at around 10,000 persons.  At least 1,500 are children participating in today’s procession and easily twice that number line the streets to watch them.

Little drummer girl

'Franciso Madero' pauses along the parade route

‘Franciso Madero’ pauses along the parade route

 

Bands and drum corps keep the procession moving as teams of gymnasts pause at every block to build human pyramids.

Other teams wave bandannas, hoops, or batons in synchronized drills.

It has the look of small town patriotic parades all across North America except for the setting… and children in traditional Mexican costume dressed as miniatures of the heroes of the Revolution.

Youngsters perform a traditional folk dance

Madero.  Zapata.  Villa.  The youngest ride in the ever-present pickup truck float, arranged in tableaus that recall historical events.

 

Costumed children create an historical tableau

A charro-in-training astride her mount

And because Ajijic is undeniably Jalisciense, the parade would not be complete without the charros, whose horses amazingly dance across the cobblestones to the sound of traditional Mexican tunes.

A charro puts his dancing horse through its routines

In the morning 10 days of fiesta begins, and there will be no need for an alarm clock, because the boom of fireworks, clanging church bells, and blaring brass bands will do the job before sunup!

Advertisements