The best days to walk around Centro in San Miguel de Allende have got to be Thursday through Saturday.
Thursdays seem to be when the girls celebrating their quinceañeras come to the Parroquia to pose in their lavish 15th birthday gowns. A charming sight to see. Tiaras on their head, sneakers beneath a billowed and sparkling gown. A furrowed brow as the photographer aligns the perfect shot erupts into a brilliant smile on command.
The young woman pictured here stands in the middle of Calle Aldama for a classic image with Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel in the background.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the weddings take over the square and spread out as far as Parque Juarez, several blocks away. More than a wedding, each is a processional, self-contained, public celebration that invites the whole city to look in on it and share in their joyfulness.
Early on a Friday evening, there can be several wedding parties each filling a far corner of Parque Juarez. Each is led by a pair of towering, spinning Mojiganghas — the wedding couple. Behind them is often a gaily decorate burro led by its sombreroed owner. In days past, the burro would carry a keg of tequila on its back and each guest would wear a porcelain cup on a lanyard around their necks, making refills quick and convenient.
Maybe too quick and too convenient. For whatever reason, the city ended the dispensing of tequila during the processions. On Saturday, I watched one burro-master fill the carrier with bottles of water for the guests. Just not the same.
Even without tequila, the propulsive and unrestrained joyfulness of the music of the accompanying Mariachi band keeps wedding guests quick on their feet and light in the head.
The bride and groom lead the processional of guests, dancing and twirling with the mojigangas and everyone joins in four a tour around the park. Some stop at the gazebo, others at wide intersections in the park’s pathways for a round of dancing and recognition of the bride and groom.
Eventually, they all march out of the park and off to parties in various halls around the city. Fireworks by 9 p.m. on the weekend are a given.