Adoration of the Virgin of Talpa climaxes five times during the year. The first, on February 2, coincides with the national festival of Candelaria. While everyone else in Mexico converges upon churches to get their plants, seeds, and candles blessed, Talpa people celebrate by blessing their beloved Virgin.
By far the biggest Talpa event occurs during the week before the feast of St. Joseph on March 19. A million visitors celebrate by downing tons of edible crafts, dancing in the streets, and singing mariachi serenades to the Virgin.
Merrymakers crowd in May 10–12 to celebrate the crowning of the Virgin of the Rosary, accompanied by a glittering carnival, booming fireworks, tasty regional food, and whirling folk dancers.
The prettiest and least crowded of the Talpa celebrations occurs September 10–19, concurrent with the national patriotic Fiesta de Patria. In Talpa, venerable national heroes must share acclaim with the Virgin, whom people bathe, adorn with new jewelry and silks, and parade around the plaza on a flower-petal carpet.
Pilgrims return to the basilica on October 7 for Talpa’s fifth and final en masse celebration, of the traditional celebration of Virgin of the Rosary, in which celebrants fete their beloved Virgin of Talpa with a glittering parade, booming fireworks, and a big carnival.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition