Alborada Rehearsal Parade

When  you see something like this
On a street corner in town
You just know there’s going to be a parade


Three Mojiganas, bigger than life
Two devils and a skeleton
Are ready for the alborada ‘rehearsal parade.’
I think this is one of those cases
Where you begin to believe
That any good old reason
Is reason for a party here.
I mean, how wrong can you go
With a parade that you need a rehearsal?

Further down the street,
Young girls gather on the bridge of the Fabrica Aurora
Putting on dresses, makeup and hats,
Twirling their home made stars,
Waiting for the festivities to begin.
At 5:30 a man runs down the street to the bridge,
Tells them to move up the street to his doorway to begin.
They refuse, saying the parade has always begun here.


Dressed in the traditional festival clothing
Of Michoacan and the state of Guanajuato,
They are here to re-enact the alborada celebration
Which was originally performed by workers
Of the Fabrica Aurora, a textile factory, in 1924.
These workers pooled together their respective festival rituals,
Creating one big event which began at four AM.
They entered the town porting giant colorful paper stars,
Setting off fireworks, playing music and dancing.
It was the beginning of a tradition
That has lasted over 80 years.


As we walked down Calzada de la Aurora
The participants were walking in with their stars,
Most were in the shape of stars, but mixed in
Were suns, moons, crosses and parasols.


Not to be outdone
The Mojigangas, almost as tall as the buildings,
marched down to the start of the parade,
A spectacle to behold making all of us smile.

Other mojigangas
Were driven in by pickup truck,
Towering over the truck,
Bareley missing the wires overhead.


Then a straggler, a little late,
Running full speed down the middle of the street,
Turning everyone’s heads as she went by.

And the parade begins – Mojigangas first.
Although this looks like the real beginning of  the parade
There’s another parade brewing on the other side of town.
But more on that later..
The young girls are ready, bouncing their stars,
Twirling their skirts, laughing, enjoying their roles.
The conchero dancers are in place
These parades are serious business for them.
Even the youngest of children participate.
Here’s one serious boy in his charro outfit,
His mother says it’s his first parade.
He’s too young to fully understand,
Not old enough to be acting out the part.
But how beautiful he looks, holding his star.
And of course,
The real stars of this parade
Blowing around in the wind.

As for the other ‘real’ start of the parade…

A little further uptown,
There is the transito cop on his motorcycle, siren running
Talking with an official of the parade –
A woman in a light green pant suit carrying a clip board,
Wearing an official festival tag around her neck,
Giving orders and discussing – well, whatever they discuss
P1020247 While the official rocket blower
Inserts a rocket into its holder,
Puffs on a cigarette,
Sticks it at the bottom of the rocket
And kabooom!
He does this every 30 seconds
For the duration of the parade.


There’s a nice orderly crowd sitting on the steps, waiting


Looking down Calle Canal we discover
There’s a second parade that we weren’t aware of –

We are at the moment of convergence of the stars.
The stars of Calzada de la Estacion,
Announced with a banner and men carrying torches.
The Stars of Calzada de la Aurora,
Announced with rockets and music.
The  respective parades take turns interweaving themselves
Around the corner and into the  main plaza
Where they wind around past the church,
Walk up and around a few more streets
Until they wind around the streets and back to the stage,
Where civic and ceremonial activities are happening
And the dancing begins.

And this is just the rehearsal.
They’ll be back next weekend’s Festival of San Miguel.
They start off the festivities on Friday at midnight,
Parading around town, dancing until four AM
When the castillo fireworks and rocket show
Will officially open the festival weekend.

Here’s the movie of yesterday’s parade,

Click on this photo to view the video

The video begins
With the entrance of all the participants on Calzada de la Aurora,
Ending in the Jardin.