Photos: Austin community marks the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

People wearing masks, colorful tunics and feathered hats dance in church
Dancers perform "la Danza de los Chinelos" in the sanctuary of at Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Austin, Minn., Wednesday. The costume and dance originated out of the Spanish conquest of indigenous peoples in Mexico and is meant to mock the colonial invaders.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

The basement of Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Austin, Minn., was buzzing Wednesday night. Dancers laughed and chatted in Spanish and English as they rushed to get ready — robes rustling, beads clacking, feathers everywhere.

They pulled on the colorful tunics and giant headpieces of chinelos dancers — traditional costumes from south-central Mexico — and lumbered carefully up the stairs to wait just outside the sanctuary doors until it was time.

Inside the church, the pews were packed, as the community gathered for Mass to mark the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As the music sounded its abrupt first chords, the dancers flowed through the doors, down the aisles, and the sanctuary erupted into swirls of color and motion.

It was the beginning of a nightlong celebration — full of dancing, music, prayers and mariachi — of Mexico’s patron saint.

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