Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano


Posted 2021-02-20 by Julie Diebolt Pricefollow

With its rich and colorful 240-year history, is the seventh of 21 missions established by the Spanish in California. The missions were designed to spread Christianity and Spanish rule to the native peoples.

The Mission is a cultural destination experience, offers inspiration and education along with historic preservation. It is also a vibrant place for ongoing learning and worship.

The Legend

Father St. John O'Sullivan, the pastor of , published a book in the early 1900s, Capistrano Nights. Father John told the tale of watching a shopkeeper knocking down swallow nests under the eaves of his shop because they were a nuisance and created a mess. Father O'Sullivan told the swallows that they were welcome at the Mission and that there was room enough for all of them. The very next day, the swallows started building their nests on the Mission property.

The Miracle

Visitors from all over the world come to San Juan Capistrano to witness the miracle of the swallow's migration and return from their winter home in Goya, Argentina, which is 6,000 miles away.

The Return

Since the 1930s, the swallows' return to is celebrated every year on March 19th. The San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association hosts an assortment of events during the three-month Fiesta de las Golondrinas. The celebrations culminate in the Swallows Day Parade and Mercado Street Faire, our country's largest non-motorized parade. Don't miss the lively and energetic Swallows Day experience in Southern California.

Due to urbanization, the swallows experienced a decline at the Mission. Recorded courtship calls played on speakers on the Mission grounds is one tactic to lure the cliff swallows back. Stationary nests were installed to save the birds time and energy in building nests from scratch. Rough-winged swallows, spotted in the Great Stone Church's ruins, may also be a draw for the cliff swallows because live calls are more effective than the recorded sounds.

While waiting to catch a glimpse of the swallows returning to the Mission, stroll the grounds, soak in the history, and relax in the splendid gardens.

94337 - 2023-06-12 01:17:05


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