The San Marcos Fair, known in Mexico as the Feria Nacional de San Marcos, is an annual celebration held in late April to honour the Feast Day of San Marcos (Saint Mark). It’s considered to be the largest and most important fair in all of Mexico. The fair is celebrated with great fervour in the city and state of Aguascalientes over a period of around three weeks and attracts more than eight million visitors a year. The San Marcos Fair includes more than 2,000 events, many of which are free, including concerts and cultural events, agricultural expos, street parades and of course Mexican food! One of the most popular events during the San Marcos Fair is bullfighting.
Origins of the San Marcos Fair
The origins of the San Marcos Fair date back to 1604 when a small group of indigenous people founded San Marcos, an Indian settlement, on the outskirts of the Spanish colonial city of Aguascalientes. Fast forward nearly two centuries when the first San Marcos Fair was held in 1828 to celebrate the Spring harvest of Aguascalientes. In 1842, The Catholic Church provided some land to build the Garden of San Marcos which became the site for the fair. At this time, the date of the fair was also changed to April to coincide with the Feast Day of San Marcos (Dia de San Marcos) celebrated on 25 April.
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The Feast Day of San Marcos (Dia De San Marcos)
While the Feast Day of San Marcos is a traditional celebration on the liturgical calendar of the Catholic church, the city of Aguascalientes continues the celebration with an enormous and a spectacular parade. The parade winds its way through the city streets with bands and marching groups, giant floats and dancers.
Bullfighting (Jaripeos) at the San Marcos Fair
One of the most popular events held during the San Marcos Fair is bullfighting or, as it is known in Mexico, jaripeos. The tradition of bull fighting in Mexico is strong and relates to the country’s Spanish colonisation and connection. Bullfighting was introduced to Mexico by the conquistadores.
Bullfighting contests during the San Marcos Fair are held in a purpose-built amphitheatre called San Marcos Plaza. The venue was originally constructed in 1896 before it was expanded in 1992 to seat 15,000 people. When a bull wins its fight, the owners will use it for breeding in the hope of raising the next bullfighting champion.
Photo Source: http://bullfightingmaza.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/bull-fighting-in-mexico.html