When in Magdalena...

There are places that hold a special place in your heart and for me, Magdalena is definitely one of them. I remember my childhood trips to Santa Ana to visit my uncle and his family, not without making more than a pit stop in this beautiful town. This time, I was there for the "Fiestas de San Francisco," which is the biggest annual festival in Magdalena and one of the best annual fiestas in Northern Sonora.

The October Fiestas in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora are celebrated every year during the last week of September and the first week of October. Many pilgrims walk from the border to Magdalena during this time, all with the purpose of paying homage to St. Francis Xavier, the town's patron saint. 

I grew up in a religious family who upheld, sometimes strictly, many Catholic traditions. Now that I'm older, my camera has allowed me to see things in a different way. I judge less and try to understand more. I see that faith is an anchor that keeps us with a firm foot on this world while trying to make sense of that which we cannot understand. 

I had the opportunity to attend the Fiestas this year. More often than not, these trips to my origins are an opportunity to reconcile my current beliefs with my childhood beliefs. These trips and these places are an opportunity to heal and make peace with the past. Editing the photos made me relive the experience and reminded me to be proud of where I come from. 

Most of the photos you'll find below are from downtown Magdalena. The town still preserves much of the original Spanish architecture and with is colors and cobbled streets, it is simply a feast to the eyes.

Religion is an important part in the lives of many people in Northern Sonora. Some people make a 50-mile pilgrimage from the border to Magdalena, on a manda to show thanks to the saint for favors granted during the year. There is usually a long line of people waiting to touch a plaster figure of San Francisco, who is the centerpiece of the fiestas. (I didn't make it inside the church this time, but my mom patiently waited for over half an hour in line).

And this was the church and surrounding area, earlier this year. 

In that same plaza that you saw above, you will find the grave of father Eusebio Kino. Father Kino was a Jesuit missionary who founded the town, which is now named "Magdalena de Kino." The area was originally inhabited by Tohono O'odham and Akino O'odham, as shown by the murals inside the Father Kino's memorial. 

During the fiestas, you can find a multitude of food options, as well as vendors who come from various parts of Mexico.

Thank you for making it all the way to the end of this post. Did you like this post? Would you like to see more posts like this? Let me know in the comments!