Sunday, March 30, 2008

Swallows Day

Yesterday was the Swallows Day Parade in San Juan Capistrano.

capistrano swallows day

The Swallows live in Argentina over the winter, and return to the town every year on March 19th. They supposedly take up residence in the SJC Mission, the Jewel of the Missions. I happen to know - because it's my office, and it has windows - that many of them build their nests in the eaves of a wooden building about ten miles away. Since the Mission is more famous, having been in town longer by a couple of years, the city celebrates the return of the Swallows with a big parade past the Mission. This is the largest non-motorized parade in America; there are hundreds of entrants. Most of them are horse-drawn vehicles or horse riders, although I saw a few llamas and donkeys here this year. In this parade, even the Shriners abandon their little cars and pull their giant fez by hand.

San Juan Capistrano is a cowboy town, and many people here remember when there were more horses than cars. There are still horse trails everywhere, and in the winter, the smell of stables drifts over the town as thick as molasses. There are two Indian bands in the town who are regularly in the parade, the Juanenos and the Acjachemen; over the last few years, as more and more Mexicans come to live in SJC, the ratio of Indians to Cowboys has changed remarkably, and the bright-feathered costumes of the Mexicans now outshine the drab black of the bolo-tie'd cowboys on their austere brown horses and their long-skirted cowgirl women with Derringers in their boots.

Of course, I didn't take any pictures of any of that. (There are some on the websites linked above.) Instead here's a view from north of the parade route where the parade entrants park their horse trailers before riding to the staging area.

Capistrano Swallows day

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

And all this time I thought it was some kind of porn festival.

pH

Peromyscus said...

Followed the next month by Bukkake Day?

Anonymous said...

Bukkake day is more a Mission Viejo event I believe. And I was just kidding. I actually rode on a float in the Swallows day parade once, thanks to my gay friend Steve.

phil

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