How 5 Latin American Countries Celebrate the Fiestas Patronales

A fiesta patronal is a celebration of the patron saint of a city. The tradition, which lasts a few days, is based on the Catholic calendar. Although similar throughout Latin America, each country adds its own flavor. Here’s what five of those patron saint festivals look like!

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1. Celebrating the Fiestas Patronales Throughout Latin America

Starting on January 16, the people of Bucerías, Nayarit, located in Mexico, get together to host a festival celebrating La Virgen de la Paz (Our Virgin of Peace). For a total of nine days, vendors of homemade sweets, artisans and other supplies happily line the streets of this small town.

2. Celebrating the Fiestas Patronales Throughout Latin America

Like the celebrations in Mexico, the patron saint festivals in Puerto Rico last nine days and include parades, games, traditional food, music and amusement rides.

3. Celebrating the Fiestas Patronales Throughout Latin America

Similar to Mexico and Puerto Rico, Peru pays homage to a saint based on the Catholic calendar. Fiesta del Señor de los Temblores, which honors the popular Peruvian saint Taitacha Temblores, is one of the country's most important patron saint festivals because it highlights its mixture of Christian and Andean religions.

4. Celebrating the Fiestas Patronales Throughout Latin America

Our Lady of High Grace is the spiritual and protective mother of the Dominican Republic. The fiesta patronal in her honor begins January 21. The day is full of festivities, and many loyal worshippers visit her temple in Higüey.

5. Celebrating the Fiestas Patronales Throughout Latin America

The patron saint festival in San Andrés, Colombia takes place in late November, and it incorporates dancing, musical performances, food fairs and a coconut beauty queen pageant.