Candelaria 2022

It’s back! Last year the Candelaria plant-and-flower fair (Feria de la Candelaria) here in San Miguel de Allende was cancelled due to COVID. But this year, gracias a dios, as Mexicans frequently say, it’s back — in the clean, open air, gracing elegant old Parque Benito Juarez with its spectacularly lush and colorful offerings for sale.

Celebrating its sixty-sixth anniversary this year, this annual rite of spring opened on Friday, January 28th, and will run until Friday, February 11th, from 8 am until 8 pm every day, giving garden lovers — and who isn’t a garden lover? — an endless array of choices: flowering and ornamental plants, fruit trees, bonsais, fresh herbs, succulents, terracotta pots, rich potting soil, and much more.

Throughout the day there is music in the air and refreshments available, then at six every evening there is free entertainment for the whole family, outdoors in the central basketball court.

For me, la Candelaria spells EUPHORIA. It’s a celebration of primavera — springtime — my favorite season of the year. And, again, gracias a dios, spring arrives early here in the central mountains of Mexico, with afternoon highs now hovering around 75 degrees (F.), and sunny, cloudless, cobalt-blue skies every day. Bliss.

Beyond its religious significance in the Christian tradition (Candelaria is the Spanish word for Candlemass), la Candelaria also marks the mid-point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, which is the basis for various ancient European celebrations that commemorate the annual start of the agricultural season. And, I also learned, it is the beginning of the solar calendar used by Mesoamerican cultures, a time to honor the earth and bless the seeds that will give new life.

Here is a handful of photos meant to tempt you to come to this year’s fair, if you can, before it ends on the 11th. And if you can’t make it to San Miguel’s Candelaria 2022, I hope you’ll put it on your calendar for next February.

Just a small taste of the vibrant colors at this year’s Candelaria

Fresh herbs for your kitchen garden
Many beautiful bonsais to choose from
And seemingly miles of terra-cotta pots
Mojigangas (oversize puppets) appear at all festive occasions here in San Miguel — including at this year’s Candelaria
Linda Whynman, Director of the International Watercolor Society of San Miguel, painting today at the Candelaria fair

Today, Saturday, February 5, members of the newly formed San Miguel branch of the International Watercolor Society (IWS) met at the Candelaria fair to paint en plein air (in the open air), and I was happy to be among them. (See my post about our first plein air outing last November: www.bonnieleeblack.com/blog/in-plein-air/ .)

If you’re in the area and are interested in joining SMA’s IWS group and learning about the many benefits of membership, contact Linda Whynman at vellum1@mac.com . If you live elsewhere in the world, go to the International Watercolor Society’s website to learn about the IWS group nearest you (https://iwsglobe.org/about-us/ ).

16 thoughts on “Candelaria 2022”

  1. Que Maravilla Bonnie! I can’t make it there from down under. The story and the photos make me a bit homesick (Boo Hoo!) Indigenous knowledge and rituals give an extended meaning to our everyday life.

  2. While I am happy to be warm and at the beach, I do wish I could stroll through Parque Juarez, enjoy the transformation of the park with all the colorful plants, and even buy a few for my rooftop. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos.

  3. Hi Bonnie: I was resisting going to Candelaria because of the virus, but this week’s WOW wowed my heart. Now I can’t wait to get there tomorrow. I know I’ll want to buy some plants and pots. The problem is, how do I get them home? Thanks for taking us there.

    1. Ah, good question, Sallie! I didn’t go into that important detail in my post. This is what I’ve done: I go to the park exit near Sollano, where the vendors are selling bags of potting soil, and ask one of them to call a cab for me. (This is when I’ve bought plants and potting soil — too much to carry home.) The cab comes within minutes, and the driver puts things in the trunk and then takes them out for me when I get home. I pay him 100 pesos. Well worth it! (Oh, and I also tip the young man with the wheel barrow and the vendor who called the taxi.) Do go to the fair; it’s very safe, open, joyful. I’m glad my post has nudged you in that direction. 🙂

  4. Dear Bon,

    Again you take us on a magical excursion! I am so ready to see flowers, and your pictures are beautiful reminder of spring. It is a welcome change from the snow I see outside my window. Please share with us any painting you are inspired to make of this occasion. It all must look and smell wonderful.

    Love,
    Paul

    1. Thank you, dearest Paul. Yesterday morning, when I joined the watercolor group at the Candelaria, it was SO cold (about 40-something degrees), I had trouble moving my hand to paint! So my plein air painting was a total failure, alas. But I’ve taken photos of my garden here at my apartment, with all the new flowering plants I’ve just purchased at the Candelaria, so I’ll send you a pic. (P.S. — Nights and mornings are still cold here, but the days warm up to the mid-70s.)

  5. Bonniedear, at first I was disappointed that the Candelaria is taking place more than a month before I get there, and then I realized it’s probably a good thing. The only thing more heartbreaking than not to see it in person is not to be able to buy a few choice flowers to plant in one’s own jardín. At least you enjoy it to the fullest. I can get a little of that joy through osmosis (and pictures!). Thank you!

    1. Yes, Be, when you get here you’ll see that just about everyone has a garden, even if it consists of just a few potted plants. Today I visited the Candelaria for the 8th (!) time, and brought home another pretty flowering plant for my burgeoning terrace garden. I’m going garden-happy! 🙂

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