Ringing the bells
8 Images

Swallows’ Day at Mission San Juan Capistrano

Ringing the bells
Raphael Gutierres, left, and Mike Gastelum, grandson of bell ringer Paul Arbiso, pull the ropes to unleash the tones of the bells at Mission San Juan Capistrano, heralding St. Joseph’s Day and the return of the swallows. The traditional celebration at the mission, which was founded in 1776, begins with the ringing of the bells and is followed by children’s performances, storytelling and tours across the grounds.  (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Taking it in
Visitors to Mission San Juan Capistrano snap photos and watch in amazement during the ringing of the old bells at the start of the St. Joseph’s Day celebratrion.  (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Sounding the celebration
Mariachi trumpeter Tizoc Ceballos and violinist Juan Manuel Cortez get the festivities started at Mission San Juan Capistrano.  (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
A perch for viewing -- and singing
Not many swallows were spotted, but this bird had a song to sing from atop the old wooden cross at Mission San Juan Capistrano.  (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
A celebration in bloom
The flowers in the garden show their spring colors at Mission San Juan Capistrano on St. Joseph’s Day. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
A pathfinder to the past
Teaching about the life and traditions of the Acjachemen Nation, Jacque Nunez takes the audience on a journey to the past, before the Spaniards came to the region. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
In their swallow finery
First-graders from the Mission Basilica School are dressed in their finest swallow outfits during the celebration. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Fish story
The swallow sightings were few, but the giant koi in the fountains at Mission San Juan Capistrano delight the visitors. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
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