San Sebastián Tecoloxtitla is one of the Original Settlements of Iztapalapa. Lacking an old colonial church, the pueblo makes up for it with some of the area’s most extravagant local festivals. These famously recall the area’s old haciendas. The land estates seem to have been locked in a continual battle of mockery with the local people. The charros who parade the streets in a satire of the old rich-poor debate recall that long history.
The Nahuatl Tecoloxtitla recalls the word “tecolote.” It’s used more commonly in Mexico to refer to owls than is the Spanish búho. Tecoloxtitla can thus be translated as “among the owls.” Visitors to San Sebastián Tecoloxtitla will see the owl depicted in a number of iterations around the streets.
For much of the colonial period, Tecoloxitla was a neighborhood of nearby Santa Martha. The two communities still share a lot in common. The biggest local festival, the Carnival, takes place in March of each year. It includes fireworks, including the famous toritos of Tultepec, which are mounted on armatures. Some are in the form of bulls, some tower like that in the photo above. The spectacle is dramatic.
The observations also include religious processions, food, and dancing of all kinds. Perhaps the marching charros are but the most ubiquitous of local characters. The town also marks the feast of Saint Sebastian on January 21, and that of the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 12.
The town centers itself around the Parish Church of San Sebastián Mártir (pictured). But the church faces competition from the sports fields just across the street to the north. The new Utopia Tecoloxtitla offers an even better organized sports and cultural center just a block to the south-southwest. The smaller Mercado San Sebastian is about two blocks to the south-southeast.