This week marked the annual feast of the Candelaria (Candlemas), a religious event celebrated across Mexico that got its name from the fact that candles were brought to the church to be blessed. Marking the ritual presentation of baby Jesus, the occasion involves first making the necessary repairs to plaster statues in street side markets. These statues—elaborately dressed Niños Jesus that are then brought to local churches—are chronicled in my video below.
You’ll see that Mexicans have developed a devotional cult around the Niño Jesus and there are an infinite number of manifestations of the figure. The Football Niño, the Punk Niño, the Indigenous Niño, and the Doctor Niño are but a few that are popular. The day usually ends with a meal of tamales—the traditional tamalada—the responsibility of the person whose slice of rosca (round, sugary bread) contained a small, plastic figure of the baby Jesus.
Watch a piece I composed on the elaborate preparations involved in the ritual:
Keith Dannemiller is a guest blogger to AQ Online. He is a photographer based in Mexico City.