Saint Isidore the Farmer was a day laborer known for getting so lost in his prayers that he lost track of time and God sent his angel helpers and mysterious oxen to do his work for him. St. Isidore’s life demonstrates that if you have your spiritual life in order, your earthly commitments will simply fall into order also.
Following the departure of Toltecs, the Otomis came into the area and were the indigenous farmers here when the Spanish arrived in 1530. In today’s world chapels and villages named for St. Isidore are often a stone’s throw from one another in areas where descendants of the Otomis still live and farm just outside of town.
His feast day this week was yet another reason celebrated in the month of May in San Miguel. Alongside the month long festival of the Sacred Cross and the feast of Saint Pascual (patron of cooks and legendary inventor of mole) May is bookended by St. Joseph’s Day (patron of laborers and where International Labor Day originated on May first) and Corpus Christi (celebrating Jesus in the communion wafer).
However, a foray into the countryside demonstrates how St. Isidore is still celebrated and with great fondness. Chapels bearing his name vary from being in pristine shape and actively used to ruins with all celebrating his time of year.
The church in Banda (what GPS systems like to call Panda, like the bear) featured live music with a tuba player than took drags on his cigarette between hitting the high notes. I was impressed at his lung capacity!
Banda/Panda features an indigenous chapel to St. Isidore with both the most interesting ceiling and floor art I’ve seen.
For party longevity visit the puebla Las Canas behind Los Labradores where a pal takes this week off every year to enjoy the fun. Long lasting and well attended the parties in Las Canas are rocking day long affairs including concerts and bull fights.
Growing up next to the Amish I never saw the appeal to farming. Long days obsessed with the weather and the life of animals encouraged me to look in other directions for career options. Had the Amish partied for St. Isidore like we do here perhaps I, too, would be part of an animal farm!
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin