January 1 – New Year’s Day (Legal Holiday). As midnight begins to chime, locals will eat 12 grapes for good luck in the coming year. Many also go to midnight mass in San Miguel de Allende

January 3 – Birthday of two heroes of Mexican Independence—Juan Aldama González and Juan José de los Reyes Martínez Amaro, known as “El Pípila.” Both were born in San Miguel de Allende. Observances are held at the church of San Juan de Dios at 10 am.

January 5 – All-night Three Kings Market sets up on Calzada Guadalupe. In nearly 700 stalls, vendors offer toys, games and kids’ clothes in San Miguel de Allende.

January 6 – Three Kings’ Day (Feast of the Epiphany). The traditional holiday gift-giving day for children, it commemorates the gifts the Magi brought to the infant Jesus. Children leave their shoes out to be filled with gifts. Many will leave hay in their shoes to feed the camels of the Tres Reyes,” the Three Kings.

January 17 – Blessing of the Animals to celebrate the day of San Antonio Abad. Pets and farm animals of every shape and kind, from cats and dogs and birds and turtles, to hens, rabbits, ducks, and the ubiquitous San Miguel burros—and even goldfish—are brought to the churches to be blessed by the priest. Locations vary but the blessings are most commonly held at the Oratorio and San Antonio church and sometimes at San Juan de Dios.

January 21 – Birthday of Ignacio Allende, the town’s “favorite son” and namesake, born in 1769. His birthplace on the corner of the Jardín, now the Historic Museum, is decorated with wreathes. Speeches and civic and military parades mark the day.

January 24 -Arrival of pilgrims for the peregrinación, or pilgrimage, to San Juan de los Lagos. As the pilgrims come into town, they are greeted by church bells, dancers and fireworks. This pilgrimage is the largest in the western hemisphere. Some three million or more pilgrims from across Mexico will walk for several days, sleeping in the open, to converge on the small town of San Juan de los Lagos, in the state of Jalisco. Their goal is a small shrine to the Virgin Mary. Nearly 20,000 of those pilgrims will walk from San Miguel de Allende, reaching the village after nine days. They create a moving city, carrying banners, singing songs, chanting and praying.

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