What is a mojiganga?

A mojiganga (pronounced: mo-he-gang-ga) is a giant puppet also used as sculpture or a grand scale design element for a large event. The head and bust are made of papier mâché which is then mounted on a tall supporting A-frame structure. Our mojigangas range from approximately 6 to 18 feet tall (2-6 meters). The puppeteer is able to see out through an opening in the costuming at his/her eye level. The dancer/puppeteer climbs under the structure and then places a shoulder harness on to support the weight of the head/bust. The feet of the dancer become the feet of the Mojiganga. These puppets can be animated by the puppeteer through movement or can be free standing as larger-than-life decor or props.

The word "mojiganga" carries with it the meaning of "burlesque"... these giants, created by Hermes Arroyo, are farcical and expansive exaggerations of humanity. The artists also create portraiture and realistic style puppets in their body of work.

What is the origin of The Mojiganga?

The Mojigangas of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, trace their origin to the tradition of The Giants (Los Gigantes) of Spain. The Spaniards brought this tradition to Mexico and other parts of Latin America. The tradition took hold in some places and not others. San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca are two locations where the tradition rooted and evolved to a different, more locally interpreted folk art form. The original Giant style was more apt to depict aristocratic figures that are symmetrical and more doll-like in appearance. In Latin America this tradition morphed into the more relaxed & burlesque art form seen in Las Mojigangas de San Miguel... A merging, at times, of the Sacred with the Profane. Spain continues with a strong tradition of The Giants in both their secular and religious culture. One example is their role in The Parade of the Giants during La Pamplonada.

What importance do the Mojigangas have in San Miguel and other regions?

Mojigangas have become iconic in San Miguel de Allende life. They appear in a variety both secular and religious festivals, special birthdays, anniversaries, Day of the Dead and many wedding celebrations. These giants have also been commissioned for fashion photo shoots.

It is a moment of wonder and delight to witness a bride and groom mojiganga strolling the cobblestones of San Miguel de Allende, majestically looming above the wedding party and guests as they are greeted post ceremony and then lead through the streets in parade (a "Callejoneada") to the reception site... often accompanied by Mariachis, a decorated burro, tequila, silk necklace shot glasses and noisemakers.

The spontaneous photo opportunities with the puppets are loved by all, creating joyful fun and spectacular, indelible memories.


Because there is nothing to compare with the sense of Joy, Fear , Wonder and Storybook delight upon seeing these giants come to life at an event. Our studio will rent or sell mojigangas for all occasions and with enough advance notice, customize the head/busts to the thematic look and feel of the event. Most clients will rent mojigangas for a short term event of a day or 2.

House of Mojigangas by Hermes Arroyo in San Miguel de Allende