If you’re headed down to the southern tip of Mexico, there’s likely something of a shopping list on your To-See itinerary. Most of this, one might assume, is to soak in some traditional Mexican culture, to learn about its great history and to see some of the wonderful natural landscape and architecture the Spaniards helped mold. The Mexican town of Chiapa de Corzo in Chiapas is one great big check on your list then, but if you’ve decided to visit during the San Sebastian Festival in Chiapas, then you’ve stumbled across the motherlode.
Every January 8-23 Chiapa de Corzo comes alive with the Festival de San Sebastian where people are in a general sense of celebration. To be sure, the festival has many activities from feasting to dancing, but by far the highlight (and the most notable event) is the sight of the parachicos – men dressed in blankets and traditional Spanish garb, women in flowered dresses and carrying lacquered gourds. The whole thing is something to experience. The men run with masks and tin rattles, the women dance behind. To the uninitiated, those can seem like a long two weeks, but really the biggest days are the 15th, 17th, 18th, 20th, and the 22nd. January 20th is the biggest day and if you’re thinking about heading to the Festival de San Sebastion, January 20th is the best day to do it.
If you’re going ahead, plan on booking a hotel in advance. Otherwise, taxis and buses run from Tuxtla into late hours of the night. This festival is one of the best things to see in southern and central Mexico.