The annual festival in Jalisco, Mexico is back for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and put a halt to all celebrations and gatherings. A small town called Teocaltiche is flooded with hundreds of people coming from all around the US to celebrate the Virgen de los Dolores with live music, parades, mass, family and tequila.
This year is the first year since the pandemic hit the world and put a brief stop to physical contact and public events. On October 29, 2022, Teocaltiche was able to hold their pageant and crown a queen of the city to represent this year’s festival. There were live performances and parades following the event.
La Virgen de los Dolores, or Our Lady of Sorrows, was present at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and represents the sorrows in life. She is at the center of Teocaltiche’s festival every November. Since 1774 the Virgen de los Dolores has been a symbol of the communities’ strong faith.
Streets are filled with people shoulder-to-shoulder dancing and singing along to the beat of the drums with bands on every corner. People go to this town from all around the US to enjoy the upbeat environment and reconnect with old friends and family.
Part of the celebration includes parades that start from one end of town to end inside of the church to honor the Virgin. Danzantes are people of all ages who perform synchronized dances in the parades. They are dressed in traditional Aztec uniforms with feathered headpieces and colorful beads that make noise as they stomp to the beat of their maracas.
November 11 is the day with the most importance with mass and other events all day. It starts off with a peregrinacion, or pilgrimage, to the temple where everyone finishes praying and appreciating the Virgin with a mass afterwards.
Another part of the annual tradition includes a bull fight at the iconic Plaza de Toros “El Renacimiento” that has been standing since 1532. Since the bull fight isn’t too kid-friendly, there are games and rides in the plaza for the kids of the town to enjoy. After the day is done everyone stays out in the plaza to close the night with music and traditional Mexican drinks like a cantarito or a michelada.
The people of Teocaltiche are united through music`but above all things through their faith.
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