Lakeside Guide to Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico

Fiesta de San Sebastián

At a Glance

Though the town of Ajijic already has St. Andrew as its patron saint, the neighborhood of San Sebastián also celebrates St. Sebastián with a procession and all-night fiesta every January 20.

More Info

The fiesta for San Sebastián is a celebration for the patron saint of one of Ajijic’s five barrios or neighborhoods, San Sebastián.

Each January 20, several families in the neighborhood help sponsor the fiesta, which includes a procession, music, a confetti egg fight, and the first appearance in the calendar year of Ajijic’s masked sayacas. The tradition was started about 30 years ago.

Procession Route

The procession should start between 4-4:30 p.m. at the intersection of Marcos Castellanos and Emiliano Zapata Streets and goes to the plaza for a short church service before returning to where the procession started. Then people throw confetti-filled eggs at each other before the night settles into music and dancing outside.

Last updated January 20, 2020

Dane Strom

Dane Strom The Lakeside Guide

I moved to Ajijic in 2010 when I decided to quit my job of seven years as an editorial assistant at The Denver Post in Colorado. I'm the photographer, web designer, programmer, marketer, writer... the everything behind this website, The Lakeside Guide. All of the businesses on this website appear here for free at no cost to them. If you find this site useful, please consider giving a small donation to become a site patron. Learn more about The Lakeside Guide or check out my other website about photography of Mexico.

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Photos of Fiesta de San Sebastián

Aztec dancers perform in front an altar for San Sebastián before the procession for San Sebastián on January 20 in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

Aztec dancers perform in front an altar for San Sebastián before the January 20 procession for San Sebastián in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

A man sells cotton candy during the fiesta for San Sebastián.

A man sells cotton candy during the fiesta for San Sebastián.

Parishioners carry an image of San Sebastián through the streets of Ajijic during the late afternoon procession.

Parishioners carry an image of San Sebastián through the streets of Ajijic during the late afternoon procession.

The Fiesta de San Sebastián is the first time in the calendar year that the town's masked sayacas make an appearance.

The Fiesta de San Sebastián is the first time in the calendar year that the town's masked sayacas make an appearance.

The sayacas are a unique Carnival tradition that originated in Ajijic about 50 years ago.

The sayacas are a unique Carnival tradition that originated in Ajijic about 50 years ago.

Learn more about the sayacas of Ajijic, Mexico.

Learn more about the sayacas.

The procession for San Sebastián underway.

The procession for San Sebastián underway.

Regino Rojas rides on a horse during the procession. Regino offers horseback tours in Ajijic that take you through town or to the hills north of town.

Regino Flores rides on a horse during the procession. Regino offers horseback tours in Ajijic that take you through town or to the hills north of town.

A boy dressed as San Sebastián rides on a donkey during the procession.

A boy dressed as San Sebastián rides on a donkey during the procession

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Aztec dancers dance before entering the chapel on the Ajijic plaza. The procession arrives at the church, where it stops for about 15 minutes.

Aztec dancers dance before entering the chapel on the Ajijic plaza. The procession arrives at the church, where it stops for about 15 minutes.

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At the plaza, the image of San Sebastián is brought into the church.

At the plaza, the image of San Sebastián is brought into the church.

A banda plays a song as the image of Saint Sebastian is placed on the church altar.

A banda plays a song as the image of Saint Sebastian is placed on the church altar.

One of the sayacas during the procession. Many of the men who dress up as a sayaco choose to dress as the female version with a dress, purse, and balloons for a bosom.

One of the sayacas during the procession. Many of the men who dress up as a sayaco choose to dress as the female version with a dress, purse, and balloons for a bosom.

A man dressed as a sayaca lifts his dress during the Fiesta de San Sebastián in Ajijic.

A man dressed as a sayaca lifts his dress during the Fiesta de San Sebastián in Ajijic.

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José Romero dressed as a sayaco.

José Romero dressed as a sayaco.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Dance of the Little Old Men

Dance of the Little Old Men

A boy in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, performs La Danza de los Viejitos, the Dance of the Little Old Men, a traditional dance from Michoacan.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print
A boy dressed as a sayaca.

A boy dressed as a sayaca. Learn more about the sayacas.

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