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Fiestas de San Lorenzo starts today

Gilbert Sanchez, left, leads a group of Matachine dancers during the Fiestas de San Lorenzo in Bernalillo last year. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

Gilbert Sanchez, left, leads a group of Matachine dancers during the Fiestas de San Lorenzo in Bernalillo last year. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — It’s that time of year again.

Bernalillo’s annual Fiestas de San Lorenzo will fill the streets with music and dancing today through Monday to honor the town’s patron saint.

Town residents have been holding the three-day festival since the 1690s.

This year, much of the activity will center around the Aragon home at 1291 San Ysidro Street. Mary and Philip Aragon, Yvonne Aragon and her boyfriend Billy Cordova have had the honor of being the Mayordomos, or keepers of the image of San Lorenzo, for the past year.

The honor carries with it the duty of holding their home open at all hours for anyone who wishes to come and pray in the company of the saint’s image. The Mayordomo role is passed from family to family on an unwritten list.

The tradition of participating in the Matachines dances is also passed down through families. Many families have members who have danced annually for decades.

Male dancers typically wear black pants and white shirts, and a headdress called a cupil, which resembles a bishop’s mitre. There are several stock characters, such as the Toros, who represents evil and temptation; Monarcas, who act as leaders; and Malinches, young girls wearing frilly white dresses who represent purity.

The dancers will gather outside the Aragon home at 2 p.m. today for traditional dances. There will be a procession through the town at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

There also will be live music and a kids’ carnival in front of the Town Hall at 829 Camino del Pueblo. The music will be from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

A full schedule of fiestas activities is available on the town website at townofbernalillo.org.

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