Swallows of San Juan Capistrano

Swallows of San Juan Capistrano

March 19 and October 23
San Juan Capistrano was the name of a mission built on the Pacific Coast by Father Junipero Serra in 1777. Even after the buildings collapsed in an earthquake 35 years later, thousands of swallows continued to nest in the ruins of the church. Local people noticed that the swallows tended to fly south on October 23, the death anniversary of St. John of Capistrano, and returned on March 19, St. Joseph's Day.
Beginning in 1940, the sentimental love song "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" (words and music by Leon RenÉ) was recorded by a variety of artists. This brought attention to the event and media attention further made it known. A Swallow Festival is held each year at the mission in San Juan Capistrano near Los Angeles, California, around the time of the birds' return. Also known as the Fiesta de las Golondrinas, it features what is billed as the largest non-motorized parade in the country. In addition to the Swallow Festival, the Mission hosts various cultural and historic events throughout the year.
CONTACTS:
Mission San Juan Capistrano
26801 Ortega Hwy.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
949-234-1300; fax: 949-481-9895
www.missionsjc.com
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, pp. 47, 177
BkHolWrld-1986, Oct 23
DictDays-1988, p. 116
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 146
References in periodicals archive ?
Like the swallows of San Juan Capistrano, the bald eagles of Coeur d'Alene Lake dazzle visitors by returning year after year.