Boaters ride along the Papaloapan River during the annual Virgin de la Candelaria procession in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, on Feb. 2, 2019. RNS photo by Irving Cabrera Torres

Mexico's Fiesta de la Candelaria ends Christmas with a bang

TLACOTALPAN, Mexico (RNS) — Each February for more than 100 years, inhabitants of the small town in southern Mexico have honored the Virgin de la Candelaria in a weeklong festival marking the end of the Christmas season.

The Fiesta de la Candelaria — called Candlemas in English-speaking areas of the world — marks the day the baby Jesus was presented in the temple in Jerusalem. In Tlacotalpan, a statue of the Virgin Mary carrying the baby Jesus is brought by boat on the Papaloapan River and paraded through the streets to be presented at the church.

Bulls are thought to have been offered originally by rich locals for slaughter during Virgen de la Candelaria celebrations. Today, young men try to have informal bullfights with the zebu bulls. RNS photo by Irving Cabrera Torres

 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

As she has for more than 100 years, the Virgen de la Candelaria processes through the town of Tlacotalpan, in southern Mexico, on Feb. 2, 2019. RNS photo by Irving Cabrera Torres

 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The Virgin of Candelaria is thought to bless the city and its river port, protecting it against floods and granting abundant fishing.

Although it sounds innocuous, the festival has become controversial in recent years due to the town's practice of releasing bulls during the festivities, an element unique to Tlacotalpan's candelaria celebrations.

Traditionally, the townspeople run behind and mock the large zebus that are given their freedom in the streets. The bulls are technically not supposed to be touched, but with the consumption of the local "torito" cocktails during the festival, often to excess, the locals are known to force-feed the bulls alcohol, and bulls have been harassed, cut, stoned and even drowned during the event.

As evening comes on, paper and wood figures of bulls filled with fireworks, also called "toritos," are set off along Tlacotalpan's esplanade, which is filled with music and shouts and people dodging the fireworks.

La Fiesta de la Candelaria, like many venerations of the virgin across Mexico, is partly a chance to dance, drink and celebrate with friends, but many in Tlacotalpan attend to express thanks for a year of life, ask for help for the sick or for a lost loved one to return.

The celebration of the Virgin de la Candelaria has been celebrated for more than 100 years in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz. Tlacotalpan, on the banks of the Papaloapan River, is a port city near the Gulf of Mexico in southern Mexico. RNS photo by Irving Cabrera Torres

 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The main day of the Fiesta de la Candelaria, Feb. 2, culminates in the center of Tlacotalpan with the burning of paper and wooden bullfighting figures filled with fireworks called “toritos.” Running around the square until the fireworks go out signifies a cleansing of sins. RNS photo by Irving Cabrera Torres

 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.


  1. those Mexicans woshipping Ishtar and Tammuz will be slaughtered when Jesus and his army of angels come to cleanse the Earth of all idolaters.

  2. Don’t forget the 7 billion or so who will also die at the hands of the Prince of Peace.

  3. Hi Jim, I keep saying this but just get laughed at.
    Wil you be one of the 7 billion?

  4. Read Revelation to see how the 7 billion is computed.
    But add these: 1.8billion Muslims, 1.6 Catholics, 1.1 Hindus, 1.2 Atheist, .5 Buddhist, .4 Chinese = 6.5 billion.
    Then add .5 for small religions = 7billion.
    Then add all the secret spiritualists, JWs, etc and total exceeds 7 billion.
    And add all the lying, cheating, fornication Christians and others.
    Also have a read of Zephaniah 1: 4 ‘I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests;
    5 And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham;
    6 And them that are turned back from the Lord; and those that have not sought the Lord, nor enquired for him.’

  5. No. They all worship Ishtar and Tammuz and try communicate with the dead. They are all lead astray by the priests and pope but that’s because they will not think for themselves.
    OT is full of instances of GOD destroying pagans and idolaters.

  6. No, only extreme fringe groups believe they worship Ishtar and Tammuz and try to communicates with the dead.


    Their own catechism forbids trying to communicate with the dead:


    2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

  7. Lyric of Ave Maria: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
    pray for us sinners,
    now and in the hour of our death. Amen.
    That is communicatiung with dead and also blasphemy.
    Every Catholic worships idols of Ishtar and Tammuz and catholic churches are full of such idols.
    Every Catholic believes they eat Jesus’s blood despite blood being taboo.
    Every Catholic believes Mary appeared to many different people when in fact Mary is dead in her grave until Judgment Day.
    Pope says Lucifer is Jesus’s brother.

  8. One cannot accidentally worship anyone or anything. One can inadvertently serve an idolatrous interest, but worship itself is an intentional act. I would know if I worshipped Ishtar, Tammuz, Elvis or anyone other than the Blessed Trinity.

    I agree that thinking for oneself is an important aspect of faith. But something about the particular party line you seem to be espousing makes me wonder if you, in fact, do.

  9. “That is communicatiung with dead and also blasphemy.”

    It appears to be asking for intercession, since Mary prays to God.

    What happened to “the communion of saints” in your sect?

    “Every Catholic worships idols of Ishtar and Tammuz and catholic churches are full of such idols.”

    You may want to try square away with some of the sects which supposed idol Catholics are worshipping:

    “Every Catholic believes they eat Jesus’s blood despite blood being taboo.”

    John 6

    51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

    52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

    53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

    54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

    55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

    56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

    57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

    Blood, of course, is not forbidden to Christians.

    “Every Catholic believes Mary appeared to many different people when in fact Mary is dead in her grave until Judgment Day.”

    Matthew 27

    51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

    52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

    53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

    “Pope says Lucifer is Jesus’s brother.”

    You need better comic books.

  10. Mary is dead and turned to dust so can’t speak to anyone let alone GOD.
    I don’t communicate or commune with ‘saints’ as all saints are dead in tehir graves.
    Connolly you are such a typical brainwashed Catholic it is laughable!
    But Satan loves you preaching his lies.
    You need to grow up and learn the Bible and Gospel.
    Go light a candle to the idol of Ishtar and Tammuz in your church and ask for enlightenment.

  11. So, you are under the impression that the dead sit in darkness and silence?

    You wouldn’t happen to have a citation to go along with that, would you?

    You do understand that Catholics are not alone in praying for the dead and to the saints, right?

    In looking at your prior posts:

    there seems to be a consistent pattern of not supporting your claims with anything in the way of citations, Scriptural or otherwise.

  12. “…it is laughable.” “Go light a candle to the idol of Ishtar and Tammuz in your church and ask for enlightenment.”

    I don’t begrudge anyone their beliefs. Truly, I don’t. But when one’s default mode is smugness and judgmentalness rather than a sincere desire to evangelize, that testifies to what is really going inside that person. If you truly believe what you claim, then shouldn’t you be trying to persuade rather than attack and belittle? Or are you more concerned about being right than winning souls?

  13. If you grow up and get a KJV Bible you coudl look up ‘When his spirit departs, he returns to the ground; on that very day his plans perish.’
    Martha said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

    Like I say – you Catholics are so brainwashed from birth just like your cousins the Jews and Muslims.

  14. I support my comments with insight fo rthe intelligent – not for childish fools unable to read a Bible.

  15. You seem to be missing verse references.

    Did they leave them out of the comic book?

  16. Connelly is so childish he is a disgrace!
    He was totally brainwasged by Catholic nonsense.

  17. Yes but none of you can condemn me – Jehovah’s Witnesses kicked me out ages ago so I’m under their condemnation and they don’t believe in a fiery Hell.

  18. Just calculate the current world population. According to the Bible very few Christians will make it and no one else.

  19. I don’t always agree with Mark, but he is grown up, profoundly understands God, and is about 50 times smarter than you, Rose. Stick with your comic books.

  20. Pooh! I started reading this, thinking there would be some interesting customs surrounding Candlemas, and we get an article on drunken bull baiting. That’s like blaming drunkeness on the Feast of the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. Asking the Queen of the Roses to include you in her intercessions.

  21. Pooh! Catholics believe Mary was assumed into Heaven.

  22. your head is full of garbage.
    get a good KJV Study bible and start learning some truths.
    FYI there ain’t no fiery hell.

  23. with a name like chalkywombat you show you aren’t very mature so you’re silly comment is understandable.
    But facts is fax and catholics worship idols and will be slaughtered for it when Jesus returns to raise his mother, sisters and brothers and say hello to stepdad Joseph.

  24. Your responses are offensive to God and intelligent men, including Jews and Muslims, but I support your right
    to comment. On the journey back to the presence of God during the final judgment, Mark and others here are light years ahead of you, Rose.

  25. that’s precisely what I wrote.
    However GOD does say in the End Times Tribulation some will realise the truth and find salvation.
    why don’t you try?

  26. Would you have had a KJV Bible without the Church preserving the manuscripts after the fall of Rome? You are missing some really neat stuff.

  27. Ah, yes. I believe it’s in John 13:35 that Jesus says, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, by your vindictiveness.” That’s a loose translation, but one that seems to match your attitude toward those you disagree with.

    Your posts have sufficiently demonstrated that there’s nothing to be gained from continuing to converse with you, but for the sake of others who might be reading this, worship is indeed an intentional act. If it weren’t, then idolatry wouldn’t be sinful because sin, by definition, involves intention.

  28. Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

    Matthew 18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

    James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among ourmembers, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

    Your KJV appears to be either damaged or a misprint.

  29. Rose have you ever asked others to pray for you? If so, why not those who are dead?

  30. sure will.
    but I’ll be raptured into the air so I won’t see the fun!
    Hope you enjoy it.

  31. That’s not drugs. That’s a fundamentalist interpretation of the scriptures.

  32. What’s your denomination?

    * No burning hell
    * All dead in grave awaiting the ressurection
    * Millennial

  33. I refuse to believe people are that sick. It has to be drugs.

  34. Thank you for your concern! I got my first KJV bible when I was 7 and had my foray into religion with JWs. I got damaged and dinged but managed to reason my way out. I’ll pass and take my chances.

    I suggest you make sure your on the right path with the right religion or you just might find yourself reincarnated instead of at the right hand of god!

  35. What’s more pertinent is where do you get your childishness?

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