Peto, Yucatán — New Year’s Day will also be a day of celebration as residents celebrate the 220th anniversary of their unique church.
Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, or Our Lady of the Assumption, dates to Jan. 1, 1799, which is also the date the faithful organize a festival for the municipality’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Estrella, or Virgin of the Star.
Local historian Arturo Rodríguez Sabido said the two celebrations coincide by design.
“That is why the original day of the celebration Jan. 1 and it is precisely that day that celebrates the patron saint of the population,” he said.
The building, which counts as a tourist attraction, has unique architectural features, he said.
“The finishes are unique in their type and that makes it an extraordinary architectural work and is the most significant icon for the population,” he said. “As for architecture, the only church in the state that resembles it is that of San Servacio in Valladolid, because they share a certain similarity.”
On the other hand, he recalled that the Virgin of the Star is the only one with that name and with those characteristics, because nowhere else is the virgin celebrated under that name.
“This church has a lot of history that is worth knowing, especially for the new generations, so that in that way they know the true value of the parish and what it represents for the Catholics of this town,” said the historian.
It should be noted that the venerated figure is the center of devotion of thousands of Catholics and several years ago was named patron of Deanery 9, which is why each year Catholics in that district participate in the annual pilgrimage to celebrate it.
Peto is in the center-south portion of the Yucatán, 135 kilometers/84 miles to the south-east of Mérida.