The fiesta honoring Saint Anthony as patron saint of San Antonio Tlayacapan concludes on the June 13, the anniversary of St. Anthony's death in 1231. Each day of the town's celebration is sponsored by a different village family. There are special Masses, processions, bands, dancing, carnival rides and games in San Antonio Tlayacapan each day of the fiesta.
St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost items, romance, old maids, boats, shipwrecks and the poor. Statues of San Antonio are prominent in many area churches. In church statuary, San Antonio always wears brown Franciscan robes and often holds the child Jesus, a white lily, or a book.
San Antonio was the privileged son of a 13th century Italian family. The wealthy family expected Anthony to become involved in the family business, trading in silks and other bounty from the Orient. Instead Antonio became a Dominican priest, and then left that order to join ranks with the missionaries headed by St. Francis with hopes of becoming a martyr by being killed by the infidels. He became so ill on the trip to the African coast that he was sent back to Italy immediately.
For years, he lived quietly in a rural hermitage, cleaning the kitchen and hiding his background, intellect and education. When St. Francis of Assisi discovered Antonio's gift for speaking and sharing the scriptures, he sent the humble priest all across Europe where he preached to enormous crowds.
Game Booths Galore!
Each day of the fiesta patronal culminates in a giant firework castle or castillo. I remember these from my youth in Guadalajara in the month of October, when we would honor our local virgin, La Virgin de Zapopan.
As the last structure burned it brought our evening to an end. But the fiesta carried on into the wee hours of the morning...and early in the morning, after all the rides and booths were put away, the calming, cooling rains arrived...lulling us back to sleep and giving much needed moisture to our landscape and our souls.