Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Return of the Swallows Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano once again will draw attention from the four corners of the earth when it hosts St. Joseph's Day and the Return of the Swallows celebration on Monday, March 19, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Among the day's highlights are the Ringing of the Historic Bells in honor of St. Joseph's Day and the Swallows Return at 10 a.m. and again at noon. The official bell ringing ceremony will take place at 11:55 a.m. There also will be live mariachi music, community presentations, Mission Parish School performances, San Juan Elementary performances and the history of St. Joseph's Day and Swallows Legend.

Another highlight of the day will be the return of renowned cliff swallows expert, Dr. Charles R. Brown, who will give a lecture on the swallows in the Soldiers Barracks Gallery from 2-3 p.m.

Cost for general admission to this signature event is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (60+) and $5 for children (ages 4-11). Admission is free for Mission Preservation Society Members, active volunteers with identification, and children ages 3 and under.

The swallows are said to migrate annually to Goya, Argentina, in October, and return to their spring and summer home in San Juan Capistrano each March. The Swallows celebration began centuries ago when Mission padres observed that the birds' return roughly coincided with St. Joseph's Day on the church calendar, March 19. The celebration has achieved international prominence since then.
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