Nino Fidencio Festival

Nino Fidencio Festival

October
In 1938, a local healer named El Nino Fidencio was allegedly murdered in the northeast Mexican town of Espinazo. Rumors spread that doctors, jealous of his healing abilities, had killed him.
Born Jose Fidencio Sintora Constantino in 1890, Fidencio displayed an early talent for herbal remedies. Soon, people from nearby towns would journey to Espinazo to see the curandero, or mystical healer, and be cured. In 1928, radical Mexican president Plutarco Elias Calles came to Espinazo to arrest the healer Fidencio for practicing medicine without a license. But Fidencio is said to have cured the president and his ailing daughter, which brought him and his healing miracles to national attention. Upon his death in 1938, rumors spread that Fidencio had been murdered. Detractors claim that Fidencio was an alcoholic who drank himself to an early death.
For a week each October, thousands of pilgrims flock to Espinazo to place flowers at the tomb of El Nino Fidencio and hold spontaneous rituals involving sacred songs, herbs, and various oils and potions. Those afflicted with disease bathe themselves in a small pond near the tomb that is said to contain healing waters. These rituals draw on Catholic ceremony as well as ancient Aztec beliefs and peasant folklore. Again drawing on Catholic teachings, pilgrims call Fidencio "El Guadalupano," or the son of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a Mexican saint. Despite warnings from the Catholic Church to stay away from this heretical pilgrimage, thousands of otherwise devoutly Catholic Mexicans come to remember the legendary village healer.