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  • Cabalgatas (or cavalcades) are traditional Mexican processions on horseback. They are proud expressions of Mexican cowboy culture and religious faith. This particular Cabalgata is held every year on the last Saturday of January. Los jinetes (or horsemen) ride out in the morning from San José de Gracia, a small pueblo in the Highlands of Jalisco. Their trek winds for 30 kilometers through cobblestone roads and countryside and ends at El Sanctuario del Señor de Los Imposibles, a small chapel renowned for its miraculous Christ figure.

    The chapel's story dates back to the 1920s and the Cristero rebellion which was fiercely fought in the Highlands. The Catholic Church and its faith were challenged by the Mexican government (apparently over taxation). Mass was banned, priests were hung from trees, and the faithful rose up against the government. The Cristero fighters led the revolt, and skirmishes were especially heated in the Highlands.

    The chapel commemorates a famous battle where a small band of Cristeros were able to fight off a large force of government soldiers. The Cristeros were accompanied by a wooden Christ on a crucifix, to whom they attributed their fortune during the fight. Since then, faithful locals from surrounding towns regularly visit the chapel to give thanks to El Señor de Los Imposibles for cures and recoveries that He has bestowed on them.

    Today, this Cabalgata regularly gathers over 700 jinetes on the journey. They arrive at El Señor de Los Imposibles where they hold an open-air mass, feast on freshly-slaughtered animals and end the day with song and tequila.

    See more images on Don Pilar's Flickr page.
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