Dedicated to providing you with credible information about living overseas
TextImage
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroad

Questions & Answers

Q & A Menu Q & A BY TOPIC
To navigate, use menu bar to the left
Roberto Millan of Roberto Millan Design and Construction – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Virgin of Guadalupe procession, Villahermoso, MexicoThere are a lot of traditions practiced in Chapala and Ajijic. Locals have celebrations for saints and have parades, fireworks, and street fairs. 
 
For example, the Virgin of Guadalupe is a big party here in Chapala and Ajijic every December 12. Another one is the Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead, which is a big celebration for three days. 
 
A few days before to a few days after the celebrations, locals would put "altares" (altars) of the Virgin with candle and flower offerings in different locations on the streets. 
 
On the day of the parade, there would be a "castillo" (castle) or tower of fireworks, which is normally placed on the church patio or the square. It's very interesting. The castle or tower structure is tall with four to six phases that they light successively, starting from the bottom and the fire would go up by levels. The castle of fireworks could be 9 to 12 meters (30 to 39 feet) tall. It could take 40 minutes to burn the whole castillo. At the top, there is a crown that starts to spin when the fire reaches it and eventually takes off up in the air. 
 
Día de los Muertos, or the “Day of the Dead” is a very old tradition in Mexico that started from pre-Hispanic times. It is celebrated for two days on November 1st and 2nd. November 1st is the day for the children's death and November 2nd is for the adults. 
 
People go to the cemetery and visit the graves and bring flowers, music, and drinks and spend the evening there with family members. The family brings what the dead person liked when the person was still alive; for example chocolates or tequila and offers this on the altar they set up for their dead family members. The altar is set up days before and kept a few days after and would have photos of the dead as well as the offerings. Some locals would also set up altars on the streets.
 
The ladies will also put on a dress like the character “Catrina” and paint their faces like a skeleton or use masks. This costume competition is very big. The ladies would often have fancy outfits like that of a wealthy person. There is music on the square where the costume competitions are also held and the best outfits are chosen. 
 
Día de los Muertos would take place right around the same time that in the United States would have Halloween, in November.
 
(Click on this picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe procession, Villahermoso, Mexico to see the Youtube.)
Rosa Elia Cepeda of Charter Club Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Parade through Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingChapala and Ajijic have many traditions and religious celebrations. They have lots of fiestas where the patron saint of each church is celebrated. During fiestas, they decorate the streets, play music, dance, and light up fireworks. It’s very noisy during fiestas.
 
Some of the strongest traditions here happen just before the rainy season starts where they have a big procession to celebrate the Virgin of Zapopan, which is the patron saint of Guadalajara. Every year, during this time, they bring the original statue of the virgin from Guadalajara all the way to Chapala. People decorate the streets with flowers and they celebrate for about 3 days. They also take the virgin on the water asking for a good rainy season. It’s a really interesting ceremony and one of the most important ones, too. 
 
Chapala and Ajijic also celebrate Mardi Gras because the people who are native to this area live close to the ocean and this is the beach for them. They have a big carnival, which happens before Lent. 
 
The biggest tradition in Ajijic is the festival of Saint Andrews, which is on the 22nd of November. The full name of Ajijic is “San Andres de Ajijic.” During Saint Andrews, all the expats that live here go to the beach so it is very traditional that people like us organize trips to the beach to take these people away from the noise of the celebrations. There are fireworks and non-stop celebrations, which usually start at 6 AM. Since the town is next to a hill, the hills bounce off the sounds, which make it even louder.
 
The greater Chapala and Ajijic areas have a celebration for every patron saint that you can imagine. And if they don’t have it, they’ll invent it. 
 
(Float at a parade going through Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.) 
Thomas Hellyer of Lake Chapala Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Chapala and Ajijic have a lot of traditions. The north shore of the lake, which has most of the expat population, is comprised of nine villages. Each Mexican village has its own series of religious and traditional events throughout the year.
 
Thomas Hellyer with his family outside his office in Lake Chapala after being pelted with flour by a passing parade, Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn Ajijic, the biggest festival of the year is the Festival of Saint Andrew (San Andres), which is the patron saint of the main church in Ajijic. They have a 9-day celebration that all happens during the week of the American Thanksgiving. They do special events for Easter, Christmas, etc. The event that caters to locals and expats alike is the Festival del Globos, which is the balloon festival. They use handmade paper balloons during this festival. People spend months making these tissue-paper balloons. Then they light up fire on a wax ring and the balloons fill up with hot air and float off at the end of the night. That’s one of my favorite festivals here.
 
The Carnival, in February, is lots of fun. There are parades and lots of mischievousness and silliness. The town of Chapala does a festival of rides and bands, which is a bit similar to a county fair. There are some fun parades in Ajijic during Carnival. As one of the local traditions, guys dress up as women but with pretty exaggerated breasts. Some of them have balloons as breasts and they wear funny masks. They have satchels full of flour  and they throw the flour on you or maybe it is confetti. You’ll never know what is inside their satchel until the last second as they start throwing it on people. There are lots of fun festivals that happen here.
 
We celebrate Thanksgiving here for both the Canadians and the Americans. If you are lucky, you get two of those per year, which happens in October and November. There are small celebrations for 4th of July. Mexican Independence Day is also celebrated.  There is always something going on.
 
(Thomas Hellyer with his family outside his office in Lake Chapala after being pelted with flour by a passing Carnivale parade, Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)

Go Here Next

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Our Pledge To You

Best Places will present information from the Community in a transparent way, unedited, except to conform with our Conditions of Use.

You can trust that Best Places does not manipulate content to sell you anything. All opinions in the Community Q & A and Expat Stories are those of its authors, not Best Places.

Get Known To The Community

Those who contribute to the Best Places Community are our heroes! And being a Best Places hero is fast, fun, and easy. Just go to Questions & Answers, find your first question to answer, click on it, and then click the Contribute Your Answer To This Question Button. If you’d rather enter a Story, go to Expat Stories and click the Contribute Your Story Button".

Contact/Support

Please contact us. We would love to hear from you! Customer Service
Technical Support
Business Development
Suggestions
Press
Phone: (US) 520-498-0427