On any given weekend, visitors and residents in San Miguel de Allende may happen across a wedding, religious, or just a celebratory procession led by one or more colorful, whimsical mojigangas (pronounced mo-he-gan-gas). In San Miguel de Allende, these dancing mojigangas lead joyful revelers in a “callejoneada”, or small parade of sorts, through the cobblestone streets and into the Jardin. It is hard not to be completely enthralled with these amazing SMA icons.
These captivating giant puppets have their roots in the 1600s when the Spaniards brought over their antecedents, Los Gigantes (The Giants). The original gigantes of Spain were meant to depict the aristocracy and were more symmetrical and resembled a large doll. In Mexico and some parts of Latin America, these astounding figures took on a more exaggerated form. The enormous decorated heads are burlesque in appearance and made from paper mache while the body is an A-frame structure draped with fanciful garb. Typically, these delightful mojigangas are 15 feet tall. The dancer/puppeteer climbs under the structure (where their feet become the mojiganga’s) and a slight mid-body slit allows them to see.
Mojigangas are intended to be farcical representations of humanity, in all its beauty, whimsy and flaws. They can represent artists, such as Frida Kahlo, some of SMA’s own residents, politicians, Catrinas of the Day of the Dead and of course, a happy couple. With San Miguel de Allende becoming a top wedding destination in Mexico, bride and groom mojigangas have surged in popularity – becoming an integral part of wedding celebrations.
We, at Taste of San Miguel Food Tours, love to get caught in the joyful celebrations!