On the road to Desierto de los Leones, Santa Rosa Xochiac is a remarkable small town that retains, even today, its independence of identity and spirit. Just ten minutes from the Santa Fe Shopping Center, it’s about 30 from most of the city. Founded way back in 1704, it’s always been a closely guarded secret to residents, and remains a favorite, with a long history and a thriving sense of place.
Legend has it that early residents left Azcapotzalco in search of an abundant landscape. The earliest settled next door in what is today known as San Bartolo Ameyalco-Cuautla Ameyalli as the name used to be spoken. A nearby lake provided fish and the forests were still colorful with game.
Some of these people founded Cuauhtenco at what is today called Santa Rosa Xochiac. Sometime after the arrival of the Spanish, the town was dedicated to Santa Maria. It soon became well-known for the white roses grown by the people. Upon being rededicated to the patron saint of Lima, the name was changed to honor the flowers and thus called Santa Rosa Xochiac.
Traditionally economically focused on agriculture and logging, since the late 20th century, residents have expanded to a concentration on the gardening industry, again, due to the flowers. Today, while the town is mostly but a stop on the way to the Desierto de los Leones National Park, it’s also a town well known for the annual passage of holiday fiestas. Among the most important
- The Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe – for three days beginning each December 31.
- Burning of Judas at Easter – Giant, diabolical “shimos” are paraded on Good Friday of each year. These are burnt the next day, Saturday.
- Santa Rosa de Lima feast day – Celebrated each August 30, fireworks are set off in the atrium of the church, and accompanied by musical performances, muleteer dances and chinelos.
- Day of the Dead Candle Burnings – One of the most important in Santa Rosa Xochiac’s calendar year, candles are burnt for everyone who has passed in the preceding year.