The Annual return of the swallows at San Juan Capistrano

The Annual return of the swallows at San Juan Capistrano

March is the best month of the year to visit and take a trip to Capistrano, for devoted Catholics to feel the emotion of the bells ringing as centuries ago, to witness and greet the incredible arrival of the Correntians swallows in their fantastic flight that takes place every 19th of March, St Joseph’s Day and more importantly the faith for believing in the Almighty.

san juan capistrano
picture showing the the swallows

The “Golden Altar,” an early Baroque-style retablo (altarpiece) with my Mom and Dad


According to the legend the swallows took refuge in the Mission San Juan Capistrano from a furious innkeeper who destroyed their muddy nests. Each spring the swallows return to the old ruined church knowing they will be unharmed and protected within the mission’s walls. Scout swallows as commonly called precede the main flock by a few days while the full flock arrives on the early dawn of Joseph’s day, begins rebuilding the mud nests that cling to the ruins of the old stone church and throughout the Capistrano Valley. After summer, the small birds will take flight again, leaving on the Day of San Juan, October 23.  They bid farewell by encircling the “JEWEL OF ALL MISSIONS” San Juan Capistrano, California.

Mom and Dad poses with St John Capistrano, photo includes the four-bell campanario
the ruins of Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano was a Spanish mission in Southern California, founded on All Saints Day November 1, 1776, by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order. The chapel is famously known as “The Great Stone Church”  was built in 1872 which was also called as “Serra’s Chapel” or “Father Serra’s Church.,”  The Serra’s Chapel is distinguished for its structural design. St John Capistrano is its patron saint and currently is still being used for religious services.

at the altar and the holy water section

The ruins of the mission compound (ruined by an earthquake in 1812) serve as a museum and historic landmark.  It has become the favorite subject for many prominent artists and tourists as well. Restoration still continues up to the present time as it is run by a non-profit organization. According to recent statistics about half a million visitors including the 80,000 school children that congregates in the place come to the mission each year.

It is a place of historical, cultural, and religious significance, as well as a place of inspiration and education for the whole family.

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5 thoughts on “The Annual return of the swallows at San Juan Capistrano

  1. Correntian swallows – that sounds like Europe. I’ll google ‘correntians’ as it’s my first time to come across the word spelled that way. Or I probably have the other meaning in mind. Thanks for pointing out the best time to visit. I took note of that.

  2. Seems a good place to meditate. I think we have a lot of similar places here in the Philippines, the big question is where to find them 😀

  3. First time to hear Correntian too, probably from Correnta? First time to hear about Capistrano as well, pardon the ignorance and thank you for introducing them hihi. Looks like a lovely place and that your parents seem to enjoy it.

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