Made-from-scratch tortillas on a wood-fired, clay comal

Made-from-scratch tortillas on a wood-fired, clay comal

No less than for county fairs north of the border there’s both a sameness to Mexican village fiestas and yet always some feature that uniquely ties each to a single place.

 

Cajititlan’s fiesta del Día de la Candelaria proves itself no exception.

 

As the ceremony on the plaza ends we plunge into a street fair which begins at its edge, lining the curbs of a dozen or more square blocks that slope gently down to the lake.

 

Canopied booths line both sides of the cobblestone streets and the crowd threads its way through the narrow passages between.

A young fathers cradles his infant son

A young fathers cradles his infant son

 

 

 

 

The crowd is a mix of villagers and day-trippers from nearby Guadalajara; I seem to be the only gringo within eyesight and the sense of total immersion is a refreshing break from gringi-fied Ajijic.

An artisan prepares to apply color to plaster masks

An artisan prepares to apply color to plaster masks

 

Market stalls feature the predictable mix of street food, artisan crafts, household items, bootleg CD’s and DVD’s, and clothing.

Diners sit family-style at long tables where women hand-form tortillas from masa ground on-the-spot using stone metates and grilled on clay comals over wood fires.

Tacos don’t get any fresher than this!

Roscas de Reyes, King's Day bread

Roscas de Reyes, King’s Day bread

 

 

 

The very last of the Roscas de Reyes – the King’s Day sweet bread – sit forlorn on a baker’s rack in their final day-old sale of the year.

A street vendor cooks unshelled garbanzo beans

A street vendor cooks unshelled garbanzo beans

 

We pass a centuries-old building that once housed a convent.  It’s closed to the public on this holiday, but I make a mental note to see it on a future visit.

 

 

 

A street vendor cooks bright, unshelled garbanzo beans over a gas-fired griddle.

I buy a small bag and pop the steaming beans free of their pods, eating them by handfuls.  Delicious!

Corn roasts over glowing embers curbside.

 

Freshly roasted corn cool on a curbside grill

Freshly roasted corn cool on a curbside grill

 

Under expansive canopies pitched in the soft breeze along the malecon at the water’s edge, a guitarist strolls among families singing ranchera as his listeners share the season’s traditional tamales.

Families share tamales under a canopy along the malecon

Families share tamales under a canopy along the malecon

Weekenders depart from the pier on Cajititlan's malecon

Weekenders depart from the pier on Cajititlan’s malecon

 

 

At the pier along the malecon families board small launches for leisurely cruises on the lake.

A musician plays for the crowd on Cajititlan's malecon

A musician plays for the crowd on Cajititlan’s malecon

Nearby a musician absently fingers the keyboard of his accordion, squeezing out tunes so often played that his fingers move unthinkingly over the buttons and keys.

Parish church on the plaza in Cajititlan

Parish church on the plaza in Cajititlan

I can’t help but smile in satisfaction as we retrace our steps to my parked car, passing the now deserted plaza.

This fiesta has been a perfect ending to a perfect day spent driving the villages around Lake Cajititlan.

The bright lights of cosmopolitan Guadalajara are but 30 minutes’ drive away, but here in the country villages along the lake traditional Mexico is alive and well.


Read other posts about my trip around Lake Cajititlan:…

Advertisements