With the celebration of the Bicentennial (200 years of independence from Spain), San Miguel de Allende and many other towns around Mexico are participating in colorful parades and festivals. This particular procession was in honor of the Archangel, St. Michael. Xuchiles are carried through town and then erected in front of the Parroquia, the town's parish church.
These ceremonial frames are made of reeds and wood. These frames are decorated with the interior part of the cucharilla cactus; cucharilla meaning little spoon in which the cactus is shaped like. Once the cucharillas are in place, the Xuchiles are decorated with colorful marigolds, carnations, mums, cockscomb, ferns and greens. Creating all kinds of designs.
San Miguel de Allende's name has evolved over the years. The first name was San Miguel de las Chichimecas, named after the Indians that lived in the area. San Miguel Viejo, meaning that older San Miguel during the time of the Chichimecas. Later it was renamed San Miguel el Grande to reflect its grandeur when it became part of the route of the silver mines from Guanajuato, Zacatecas and San Louis Potosi to Mexico City. in the 1700's, San Miguel was the wealthiest town in new Spain. After Mexico achieved its independence, San Miguel became the first town in Mexico to be released from Spanish rule and its name was changed to San Miguel de Allende to honor General Allende. As you can see, the Xuchile in front of the San Rafael church (next to the Parroquia), is pretty big.
These Xuchiles truly are a beautiful form of art and made by the talented people who carry them all the way to the Parroquia!