Candelaria 2023

If there is a heaven, I hope it’s a lot like this.

I’ve been visiting the Candelaria plant fair here in San Miguel de Allende’s grand old Parque Juarez every day since it opened on February 1st and I’ll likely continue this pattern until its closing day on the 15th. To me, this annual event, which heralds springtime, is heaven on earth.

Sometimes, with outstretched, inclusive arms, I enthuse to the vendors I pass, who by now recognize me, “Este es el paraíso!” (this is paradise!). They’re quick to nod and smile back at me.

If you haven’t yet been to San Miguel’s Candelaria Fair, now in its sixty-seventh year, imagine this: A huge park (the overall size of three soccer fields, I’m guessing) filled with soaring trees more than a century old, and winding, brick-laid walkways that are now during the Candelaria lined with open stalls displaying eye-poppingly beautiful plants for sale.

Walking the pathways of Parque Juarez during the Candelaria Fair is like walking in an enchanted, flower-filled forest

The overall ambiance is peaceful, clean, and orderly — as I envision our hoped-for heaven to be. Attendees appear blissed out by the overwhelming natural beauty of it all. It’s easy to overhear, in hushed tones, words in both English and Spanish such as, “Oh, look at this!” and “Mira, que bonita!”

The vendors, growers from various parts of Mexico, don’t need to be aggressive salespeople; their colorful, flowering plants, citrus saplings, cacti and succulents (and lots, lots more) sell themselves.

There are many medicinal and culinary herbs for  kitchen gardens
As well as iconic Mexican desert plants requiring little watering

For me, wandering around the Candelaria Fair, and occasionally giving in to the temptation of buying something irresistible, is like walking through a wonderland. To me, it’s heavenly.

So if you’re in SMA and haven’t yet been to the fair, do go as soon as you can. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until next Wednesday, February 15. This being Mexico, you’ll find food vendors there too, as well as scheduled musical events and entertainment on the large stage set up in the center basketball courts.

However, if you’re too far away to attend SMA’s Candelaria this year, I hope that a few more of my photos will magically bring you to it and help you dream of the Spring that’s around the corner where you live.

A young Mexican couple buying plants for their new home
Teens doing folk dancing “in the style of Guanajuato” on the center stage
Friendly men with wheelbarrows are at the ready to take purchases to your car or to a taxi. I asked this man if I could take his photo, and he told me I could because he’s so “guapo” (handsome).
My biggest purchase (to date) was this huge pot for a bougainvillea I bought earlier in the week — for my new apartment-to-be. (Photo credit: Kim Malcolm)

Now I’m wondering: Will there be wheelbarrows in heaven?


18 thoughts on “Candelaria 2023”

  1. Bonnie, I first have to comment on the fact that your blog has its old home back. Maybe that correlates with the coming of your new one! And second, the next time I come to SMA, I’ve got to make it by Feb. 1. It’s almost heartbreaking to see your photos and know I won’t be able to be there this year. Whatever the weather’s doing right now, I’d be fine with it, as long as I got to see all these lovely plants and flowers. Thanks for all the photos.

  2. Oh, yes. Candelaria is flood for the soul. I think the man in the wheelbarrow is “Tio”. I always ask him to carry my plants back to my house because, well, I have a connection with him. We know each other.

  3. Ah, Bonnie! Being an avid gardener, I sigh with longing at the thought of visiting gardens and fairs like Candelaria around the world! I strongly approve of your choice of plant for your new home. Your pot and bougainvillea are a perfect combination for holding wild tendrils and passion- coloured flowers. What a welcoming sight!

    1. Thank you, dear Loula! Wish you were here to see the Candelaria in person. As a gardener yourself, you’d be in heaven too! My new bougainvillea is peach-color, so it’ll be perfect in this big maceta (pot). I’m overjoyed.

  4. Dear Bon,
    Your pictures are so gorgeous! It’s just like being there. I’m determined to become more adept at raising houseplants. I have never had much success. The one plant I have now is a jade plant, and it isn’t looking very happy. I’m praying it makes it to summer.
    That is a really big pot. I just looked at bougainvillea online. What a showstopper to have in your yard or terrace.

    1. Thank you, dearest Paul. Yes, my showstopper of a peach-color climbing bougainvillea plant will be in that big pot on my terrace. I can’t wait! As for your jade plant, is it getting enough sun? 🙂 If you attend to it the way you do your friendships (like ours), with TLC, it will do just fine! — BB xx

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