By Joseph Toone
Valle del Maiz is one of San Miguel’s oldest neighborhoods and has strong indigenous roots. The festival honors the Holy Cross and goes on for days reflecting when the Spanish gave three days off work to the indigenous Otomis and Chichimecas in late May. It’s one of my personal favorites of all the cultural events in San Miguel de Allende.
Young men (some dressed as women or solely wearing their skivvies) climb a greased pole to retrieve prizes and gifts. Stages display a wide assortment of music and dancing while larger than life-size puppets perform amidst the excitement of several processions.
Friday night, residents prepare xuchiles—large offerings made from cucharilla to present in front of the chapel for the daybreak festival of food, music, and fireworks on Saturday morning.
Valle del Maiz’s festival of the Holy Cross terminates a month-long celebration throughout town.
The cast of characters featured in the Valle del Maiz tour and festival include:
- The Chichimecas and Conquistadors—how their Battle of the Barbicans in 1530 changed town forever
- The Sacred Cross—why the oldest crosses around town host lavish parties
- Locos—crazy folks known for their dancing
- Martha’s Dragon—or King Kong and Beauty and the Beast come to town
- Dancers—from across town and Mexico are honored to perform live on stage
Along with dancers the Valle del Maiz fiesta features food, games, music, and battle reenactments between the Chichimecas and Conquistadors. Unlike a Civil War reenactment in the southern U.S., it is hard to say who will win here!
Dancers from the town of Acambaro in the southern part of the state end the show by tossing out the bread their town is famous for. Left for a day or two, it forms the basis for great French toast.
The Valle del Maiz festival continues to be my favorite fiesta in a town well known for its parties! The tour is strenuous, taking about an hour and a half of uphill walking through our oldest neighborhoods featuring great murals and ending at the Valle del Maiz procession and festival. The cost is 500 pesos per person or US$25. We’ll start at 5pm, Saturday, May 27.
The tour is led by TripAdvisor’s top rated tour guide and the best-selling author of 12 books on San Miguel de Allende’s history and culture—including the most sold San Miguel de Allende book on Amazon.
For reservations contact Toone.Joseph@yahoo.com or visit JosephTooneTours.com for more information.