San Felipe del Agua Feast Day is one of the biggest celebrations in this suburb a few miles north of Oaxaca. Don’t worry if you don’t know anyone as locals love to entertain.
I love a parade but Mexicans love them more. They love them so much that it’s possible to see a few each week if you know where to look.
I have seen several parades in Oaxaca for seemingly odd reasons, such as architect students celebrating construction workers.
But the most interesting of them all was in an upscale subdivision on the outskirts of Oaxaca called San Felipe del Agua. It’s called Feast Day and it lasts for a week.
Robert and I ventured out to discover the San Felipe del Agua Feast Day and it was an adventure.
San Felipe del Agua Feast Day
The festival started off with a procession of musicians, women with baskets of flowers and some wearing wooden contraptions on their head; upon closer inspection we realized the structures held fireworks.
The parade ended at the church for mass and many people waited outside. We assumed they would light the fireworks at the end as fireworks are an everyday occurrence in Mexico.
As expected, once mass ended the fireworks began and people congregated in the church courtyard.
I was not prepared for what followed.
One of the women put the wooden structure on her head, they lit the fireworks and she danced around as fireworks launched from her head.
People passed around Mexican antojitos and watched as she and people in giant muppet-like costumes danced to the band.
After the fireworks ended everyone gathered up their flowers, food, and fireworks structures and formed a parade down the street.
Robert and I had no idea where they were going but joined in the procession along with the other spectators. We arrived at another church where there was a quick ceremony and then pastries were passed around, candy was thrown into the group and more women danced around with fireworks on their head.
The music ended and the parade moved on to a commissioner’s house for a blessing. Locals asked how we knew about the festival as we were the only foreigners there and welcomed us with shots of mezcal and Squirt (lemon lime pop) as the slightly loopy crowd watched more dancing women with fireworks atop their heads.
After a few hours the parade for San Felipe del Agua Feast Day didn’t seem to be losing any steam. There was a steady stream of mezcal and food to keep the group going but we decided the fourth church would be the last.
The next night in my hostel I heard the familiar carnival music and cheering and went to the street. This parade was smaller, without the fireworks on women’s heads but I arrived in time to be pelted with candy.