Jump to content

Holidays in Mexico


Reuben

Recommended Posts

Mexican Holidays
Below is a list of some major Mexican holidays, festivals, and events.
Days in red are federal statutory holidays under Mexican federal labor law.

 
January
January 01 –- New Year's Day (Año Nuevo)
January 06 –-Day of the Magi Kings (Día de los Santos Reyes Magos)

Carnavales and Martes de Carnaval (Fat Tuesday) - Between February 4th and March 10th
Carnavales is the period preceding Ash Wednesday that ends on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). Martes de Carnaval (Fat Tuesday) is the last day of Carnavales (the Mardi Gras or carnival season) and hence the Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday, which is 40 secular days before Easter, thus it falls sometime between February 4th and March 10th.

February
February 02 –- Candlemas Day (Día de la Candelaria)
February's First Monday (formerly February 5th) –- Mexican Constitution Day (Día de la Constitution) 
February 14 –- Valentine’s Day (Día del Amor y la Amistad, Día de los Novios, o Día de San Valentín)
February 19 –- Army Day (Día del Ejército)
February 24 –- Flag Day (Día de la Bandera)
February 28 –- Death of Cuauhtemoc (Muerte de Cuauhtémoc) in 1525

March
March 08 –- International Women’s Day (Día de las Mujeres)
March's Second Sunday –- Daylight Savings Time begins in Tijuana (but not in all of Mexico)
March 17 –- Saint Patrick’s Day (Día de San Patricio)
March 18 –- Nationalization of the Petroleum Industry of Mexico (Aniversario de la Expropiación Petrolera) in 1938
March's Third Monday (formerly March 21st ) –- Benito Juarez’s Birthday (Natalicio de Benito Juarez)
March 21st (or thereabouts) Spring Equinox –- the First Day of Spring (Primavera)

Easter Holidays – Sometime Between March 15th and April 25th
Ash Wednesday (Miércoles de Ceniza) is the seventh Wednesday before Easter and the first day of Lent.
Lent (Cuaresma) traditionally is the time from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday
Semana Santa (Holy Week) is the week from Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) through Easter Saturday (Sábado Santo).
Semana Pascua (Easter Week) is the week from Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua) through the following Saturday.
Semanas Santas (Holy Weeks) are the weeks before and after Easter.
Good Friday (Viernes Santo), the day Christ’s crucifixion is remembered, is the dominant holiday during these two weeks (Semanas Santas).
Holy Saturday (Sábado Santo), the Saturday proceeding Easter, is the last day of Lent.
Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua), also called Resurrection Sunday, is the Sunday on which Christ’s resurrection is remembered.

In Western Christianity, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. Easter is always the first Sunday following the first full moon that occurs on or after the ecclesiastical vernal equinox. The ecclesiastical vernal equinox is always on March 21st.

April
April 21 –- Heroic Defense of Veracruz (Heroica Defensa de Veracruz) in 1914
April's Next to last Wednesday (usually) –- Secretary's Day (Día de la Secretaria)l
April 30 –- Children’s Day (Día del Niño)

May
May 01 –- Labor Day (Día del Trabajo)
May 05 –- Cinco de Mayo (the day the Battle of Puebla that was fought on the 5th of May, 1862)
May 08 –- Miguel Hidalgo’s Birthday (Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo) in 1753
May 10 –- Mother's Day (Día de la Madre) in Mexico

June
June 01 –- National Marine Day (Día de la Marina)
June's Third Sunday –- Father's Day (Día del Padre)

July
July's First Sunday every six years – Presidential Election, a Mexican federal holiday in 2018, 2024, 2030, 2036, 2042… 
July 18 –- Death of Benito Juarez (Muerte de Benito Juárez) in 1872

August
Like the United States, Mexico does not have any significant holidays in August. Perhaps because, in both countries, it is a time many people are on vacation.

September
September 13 –- Boy Heroes or Heroic Cadets Day (Día de los Niños Héroes) from the Battle of Chapultepec in 1847
September 15 –- Cry of Independence (El Grito de Dolores in 1810) at 11pm
September 16 –- Mexican Independence Day (Día de la Independencia - Beginning of the 1810-1821 revolt)

October
October 12 –- Columbus Day (Día de la Raza o Día Del Descubrimiento de las Américas, Day of the Discovery of the Americas, in 1492)
October 31 –- Halloween (Halloween/Día de Brujas, the Day of the Witches)

November
November 01 –- All Saint's Day (Día de Todos Santos)
November 02 –- All Soul's Day (Día de los Muertos)
November's First Sunday – Daylight Savings Time ends in Tijuana (but not in all of Mexico)
November's Third Monday (formerly November 20th) –- Revolution Day (Día de la Revolución that began in 1910) 

December
December 01 every six years –- Presidential Inauguration Day, a Mexican federal holiday in 2018, 2024, 2030, 2036, 2042…
December 12 –- Virgin of Guadalupe Day (Día de Nuestra Virgen de Guadalupe, the Patron Saint of Mexico)
December 16-24 –- Christmas Processions/Posadas (Posadas Navideñas)
December 24 –- Christmas Eve (Nochebuena)
December 25 –- Christmas Day (Navidad)
December 28 – Day of the Innocents (Día de los Santos Inocentes)
December 31 –- New Year's Eve (Víspera de Año Nuevo)


 

Holiday Observances

Statutory holidays are established by legislation. Legislation enacted by either by the Mexican federal government for the entire nation or by a state government for those living within the state.

Civic, cultural, and religious holidays are not necessarily statutory holidays. (Some--like Constitution Day, Labor Day, and Christmas--are federal statutory holidays while others--like Flag Day, Mother’s Day, and the Virgin of Guadalupe Day--are not.) Banks, schools, government offices, and most businesses are closed on federal statutory holidays. Banks, schools, government offices, and most businesses do not close for civic, religious, and cultural holidays with the exception that on Good Friday in Mexico some banks, schools, government offices, and businesses will be closed or will close early.

Employees are entitled to a day off with pay on a federal statutory holiday. If an employee is required to work on a federal statutory holiday then additional compensation is required by law. When a Mexican federal statutory holiday falls on Saturday the preceding Friday becomes the day the holiday is legally observed. When a federal statutory holiday falls on a Sunday the following Monday becomes the day the holiday is legally observed.

However, sometimes employees are given a different day off in lieu of the official Mexican federal statutory holiday. Sometimes this is done for work related reasons and sometimes for cultural reasons. (For example, for cultural reasons, employees are often given May 1st off in lieu of the first Monday before May 1st which is the official Mexican federal statutory Labor Day holiday.)

When a Friday or Monday is designate as a statutory holiday because the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday Mexicans normally celebrate the holiday on its traditional Saturday or Sunday date.

 

The Most Festive Mexican Holidays

Just as in the United States some holiday are celebrated more than others so it is in Mexico. New Year’s Eve, El Grito on September 15th, and Christmas Eve are the most celebrated holidays in Mexico.

The Day of the Magi Kings on January 6th, Candlemas Day on February 2nd, the Easter weeks holidays, El Día del Niño (Children’s Day) on April 30th, and Mother’s Day on May 10th are next in importance.

Most of the rest of the holidays (with perhaps the exceptions of the Virgin of Guadalupe Day and Christmas Posadas) are celebrated in minor ways, if they are celebrated at all.
 

(Originally compiled by local historian Dan, as are the following detailed posts about each holiday)

  • Like 1
Link to comment

January 1st – New Year's Day (Año Nuevo) 

 

New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo) is a Mexican federal statutory holiday. Employees are entitled to a day off with pay plus overtime pay if they are required to work on the holiday.

When New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday the preceding Friday is designated the federal statutory holiday; when it falls on a Sunday the following Monday becomes the federal statutory holiday. Banks, schools, government offices, and many businesses are closed on the New Year’s Day federal statutory holiday. The cultural celebrations always occur on December 31st and January 1st.

New Year’s Day is celebrated in Mexico very much like it is in the United States, with a lot of partying occurring on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day is usually very calm.

In Mexico one says “¡Feliez Año!” to wish somebody “Happy New Year.” One often adds ¡Y un próspero Año Nuevo! (And a Prosperous New Year), which is the English equivalent of “And a Happy New Year.

The custom of eating grapes on the stoke of midnight and wearing certain colored clothes in the hope of making a wish for the New Year come true are covered in greater detail in the section about New Year’s Eve (Víspera de Año Nuevo).

 

History

Until the time of Julius Caesar the Roman year was organized round the phases of the moon. For many reasons this was hopelessly inaccurate so, on the advice of his astronomers, Julius Caesar instituted a calendar centered round the sun. It was decreed that one year was to consist of three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter days, divided into twelve months; the month of Quirinus was renamed 'July' to commemorate the Julian reform. Unfortunately, despite the introduction of leap years, the Julian calendar overestimated the length of the year by eleven minutes fifteen seconds, which comes to one day every on hundred and twenty-eight years. By the sixteenth century the calendar was ten days off. In 1582 reforms instituted by Pope Gregory XIII lopped the eleven minutes fifteen seconds off the length of a year and deleted the spare ten days. This new Gregorian calendar was adopted throughout Catholic Europe.

Protestant Europe was not going to be told what day it was by the Pope, so it kept to the old Julian calendar. This meant that London was a full ten days ahead of Paris. The English also kept the 25th of March as New Year's Day rather than the 1st of January. By the time England came round to adopting the Gregorian calendar, in the middle of the eighteenth century, England was eleven days ahead of the Continent.

A Calendar Act was passed in 1751 which stated that in order to bring England into line, the day following the 2nd of September 1752 was to be called the 14th, rather than the 3rd of September. Unfortunately, many people were not able to understand this simple maneuver and thought that the government had stolen eleven days of their lives. In some parts there were riots and shouts of 'give us back our eleven days!'

Before the calendar was reformed, England celebrated Christmas on the equivalent of the 6th of January by our modern, Gregorian reckoning. That is why in some parts of Great Britain people still call the 6th of January, Old Christmas Day.

New Year's Day, observed on January 1st, is the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome and is still in used by some today. With most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, New Year's Day is the closest thing to being the world's only truly global public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts. January 1st on the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 14th on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year

The Romans dedicated this day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. After Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46 BC and was subsequently murdered, the Roman Senate voted to deify him on the 1st of January in 42 BC in honor of his life and his institution of the new rationalized calendar. The month originally owes its name to the deity Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward. This suggests that New Year's celebrations are founded on pagan traditions. Some have suggested this occurred in 153 BC, when it was stipulated that the two annual consuls (after whose names the years were identified) entered into office on that day, though no consensus exists on the matter. Dates in March, coinciding with the spring equinox, or commemorating the Annunciation of Jesus, along with a variety of Christian feast dates were used throughout the Middle Ages, though calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December.

Among the 7th century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts at the New Year. This was a pagan custom deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemings and Dutchmen, "(Do not) make vetulas, [little figures of the Old Woman], little deer or iotticos or set tables [for the house-elf, compare Puck] at night or exchange New Year gifts or supply superfluous drinks [another Yule custom]." The quote is from the vita of Eligius written by his companion, Ouen.

Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1st as New Year's Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. In England, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, was the first day of the new year until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752. The March 25th date was known as Annunciation Style; the January 1st date was known as Circumcision Style, because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, considered to be the eighth day of Christ's life, counting from December 25th when his birth is celebrated. This day was christened as the beginning of the New Year by Pope Gregory as he designed the Liturgical Calendar.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

January 6th – Day of the Magi Kings (Día de los Reyes Magos)

 

The Day of the Magi Kings (Epiphany) celebrated on January 6th is a cultural, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and most businesses are open as usual.

 

Day of the Magi Kings (Día de los Reyes Magos) Celebration

In Mexican tradition gifts are given on the Día de los Reyes Magos (Day of the Magi Kings), which is held on January 6th with gifts coming from the Magi Kings, not Santa Claus. Or at least that used to be the tradition in Mexico before Santa Claus and his tiny reindeer started entering Mexican airspace.

These days the custom of Santa Claus bringing gifts has become commonplace. Now gifts are given on either or both days, and, especially in Northern Mexico, gifts are more likely to come from Santa Claus on December 25th rather than from the Magi on January 6th. Children receiving gifts from the Magi address their wish list to the Niño Jesus (Baby Jesus) whereas children receiving gifts from Santa Claus address their wish list to Santa Claus.

This festival correlates with the Magi (wise men) who gave gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus while he lay in the manger. The gold indicated Jesus was the rightful king of Jews as kings receive gold from their subjects in the form of tribute and taxes. Frankincense is the incense that was burned in Soloman’s temple and was given in acknowledgement of Jesus’ spiritual role as a religious teacher and priest. Myrrh is used to embalm the dead and was given in anticipation of the death of the Christ child which is seen by Christians as being an atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind making reconciliation with God the Father possible for the repentant.

January 6th is also the day of the Epiphany. For Catholics--as well as those of some other Christian dominations--the Epiphany is the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi and the significance of their gifts (as explained above).

Part of the tradition celebrating the Day of the Magi Kings is for family and friends to gather together and partake of hot chocolate together with specially made bread (which most people purchase from a local bakery instead of making it at home) called Rosca de Reyes bread. (This is sometimes called a merienda, a Spanish word meaning a small meal.) As is the case with most Mexican holidays, the day is also celebrated with lots of drinking and dancing.

The Rosca de Reyes bread is a wreath of sweet bread with contains one or more plastic dolls or similar objects representing the baby Jesus. (Originally the bread contained a coin, often a gold coin, representing the baby Jesus. Sometimes bakeries, to increase sales, will hide a gold coin in one of their Rosca de Reyes breads. People will then flock to the bakery hoping to be the lucky person who purchases the Rosca de Rey containing the gold coin.)

The bread is cut with a knife symbolizing the danger Jesus faced at his birth from the enmity of Herod, the Great. (According to the Biblical account, when Herod heard from the Magi that the rightful King of the Jews had been born in Bethlehem he had all male children born in Bethlehem under age two put to death hoping this would eliminate a potential challenge to his throne.) Whoever gets the coin buried within the Rosca de Reyes bread must throw a party on the Día de la Candelaría (Candlemas Day) which is celebrated on February 2nd..

When the Rosca de Rey bread contains multiple objects there is a protocol, based on who receives what object and the order in which the objects are discovered, that determines who does what for the Candelmas fiesta. In reality when there are multiple objects in the Rosca de Rey bread the Candlemas fiesta is planned by a committee composed of the señoras (adult woman) who either in person or vicariously through a family member received an object in their Rosca de Rey bread.

In Tijuana there is usually a parade on Paseo de los Héroes, in Zona Rio, on January 6th. It's fun to watch.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Between February 4th & March 10th – Carnavales and Fat Tuesday (Martes de Carnaval)

 

Carnavales is a cultural, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and most businesses are open as usual.

Carnavales is the period preceding Ash Wednesday that ends on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) or, in Spanish, Martes de Carnaval.

Martes de Carnaval (Fat Tuesday) is the last day of carnavales (the carnival season) and hence the Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday, which is 40 secular days before Easter, thus sometime between February 4th and March 10th.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, ending the Thursday before Easter Sunday. Due to the fasting and austitity practices associated with Lent Fat Tuesday is a major “party day.”

 

Carnival Celebrations

"Mardi Gras", "Mardi Gras season", and "Carnival season", in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on Mardi Gras which, in French, means Fat Tuesday, and is the day before Ash Wednesday.

Epiphany means "vision of God", and is (most frequently) celebrated on January 6th. In Catholic theology. it celebrates the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, and thus Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles.

Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days (40 secular days) before Easter. It is a moveable date, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter. It can occur as early as February 4th or as late as March 10th.

Lent (from the Latin “Quadragesima,” meaning fortieth) is an observance of many Christian denominations, lasting for a period of 40 days secular days before Easter. In most Western denominations Lent is taken to run from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) which is Easter Eve.

Mardi Gras, (French for “Fat Tuesday,”) refers to the practice of the last night before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday, of eating rich, fatty foods. The day is sometimes referred to as Shrove Tuesday, from the word shrive, meaning to confess. Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent.

Popular practices include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, etc. Similar expressions to Mardi Gras appear in other European languages sharing the Christian tradition, as it is associated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins.

In many areas, the term "Mardi Gras" has come to mean the whole period of activity related to the celebratory events, beyond just the single day. (In some United States cities, it is now called "Mardi Gras Day" or "Fat Tuesday".) The festival season varies from place to place, as some traditions consider Mardi Gras the entire period between Epiphany or the Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday. (The Twelfth Night is a festival in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany and concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas.) Others traditions treat the final three-day period before Ash Wednesday as the Mardi Gras.

In Mexico, the Carnival Season is celebrated in many cities and towns, most notably in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Puerto Vallarta, Mérida, Yucatán, and in the city of Veracruz, where Carnival is celebrated with traditional music, folklore, arts, and dances. People dress in bright, feathered costumes resembling the indigenous traditions, and create a series of performances on the streets as well as on stages. In most cases there is a large set-up of fair games and roller coasters. Both Mazatlán's and Veracruz's celebrations are often compared to the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro or New Orleans. In Copándaro de Galeana, Michoacán c Carnival is celebrated with lively parades often surrounding bull riding, cockfights and dancing.

In some of the central to northern regions the popular Norteña and Mexican rodeo influences are very present, whereas in the coastal or southern regions, Carnivals represent a more indigenous rendition. Each one will include many region-specific food dishes and drinks. In Tijuana, little is done to celebrate Martes de Carnaval (Mardi Gras) and Carnavales (the carnival season).

Link to comment

February’s First Monday – Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución)

 

Constitution Day is a Mexican federal statutory holiday. Banks, schools, government offices, and many businesses are closed on Constitution Day. Employees are entitled to a day off with pay or overtime compensation if they are required to work on Constitution Day. The Mexican flag is flown at full staff on Constitution Day in the manner provided for under the Ley sobre el Escudo, Bandera y el Himno Nacionales (Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem).

Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución) commemorates both the current constitution which was adopted on February 5, 1917 and the former constitution, which was adopted on February 5, 1857. Prior to 2006 the Día de la Constitución was celebrated on February 5th. To create a three-day weekend, since 2006 the Día de la Constitución has been (officially) celebrated on the first Monday in February,

The current constitution, adopted in 1917, limits a president to a single six year term; it also forbids active duty members of the military from being elected president. This has prevented the dictatorships (by both civilians and military generals) that were part of Mexico’s history prior to the Mexican Revolution that began in 1910.

 

The 1917 Constitution

The current Mexican Constitution was drafted in Santiago de Querétaro by a Constitutional Convention during the Mexican Revolution. It was approved by the Mexican Constitutional Congress on February 5, 1917, with Venustiano Carranza serving as the first president under its terms. It is usually recognized with the festivals and street celebrations.

The Mexican Revolution that began in 1910 brought about social and cultural changes which mark the beginning of modern Mexico. The revolution started as a rebellion against President Porfirio Díaz, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N. Mendez as interim president, and a four-year term served by his political ally Manual Gonzalez from 1880 to 1884.

Díaz is commonly considered by historians to have been a dictator and is a controversial figure in Mexican history. The period of his leadership was marked by significant internal stability (known as the "paz porfiriana"), modernization, and economic growth. However, Díaz's conservative regime grew unpopular due to repression and the failure of the poor to improve their economic conditions. The years in which Díaz ruled Mexico are referred to as the Porfiriato.

As the gulf between the poor and rich grew wider under Díaz, and the political clout of the lower classes also declined. Díaz was once quoted as saying of his own people, “The Mexican people would amount to nothing without being driven by the whip.” The opposition of Díaz surfaced when Francisco I. Madero, who was educated in Europe and at the University of California, began to gain recognition and political power.

Díaz had Madero imprisoned, feeling that the people of Mexico weren't ready for democracy. During this time, several other Mexican folk heroes began to emerge, including the well known Pancho Villa in the north, and the peasant Emiliano Zapata in the south.

Díaz was unable to control the spread of the growing insurgence and resigned in May, 1911, with the signing of the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez, after which he fled to France (dying a few years later). Madero was then elected president, but was opposed by Emiliano Zapata who did not wish to wait for an orderly implementation of Madero’s desired land reforms. Zapata denounced Madero as president and took the position for himself. Zapata controlled the state of Morelos, where he chased out the estate owners and divided their lands to the peasants. Later, in 1919, Zapata was assassinated by Jesus Guajardo acting under orders from General Pablo Gonzalez.

Emiliano Zapata was born in 1879 in the Mexican state of Morelos, the son of a farmer. He proved to be a natural born leade and his destiny soon revealed itself. His father died when he was 17 and shortly thereafter, Emiliano assumed the responsibility of providing for his family. Zapata was of Mestizo blood and he spoke Nahuatl, the indigenous language of central Mexico. Widely respected by his community, the village elected Zapata to be their leader in 1909. He quickly recruited an insurgent army of farmers from his village to protect the farms in their immediate community. Zapata and his men fought the government troops in the south of Mexico while Pancho Villa fought in the north.

Pancho Villa was born Doroteo Arangol in Durango on June 5, 1878, the son of a field laborer. As an adolescent Villa became a fugitive after killing a man who assaulted his sister. Fleeing to the mountains, he changed his name and became a bandit. In 1910 he joined the rebellion led by Francisco Madero, which was successful. When Madero was assassinated in 1913 Villa formed an army several thousand strong which came to be known as the Division del Norte - the Division of the North. He fought on the side of Venustiano Carranza and the Constitutionalists.

Eventually, Venustiano Carranza became president and organized an convention that produced the Constitution of 1917, which is still in effect today. Carranza made land reform an important part of that constitution. This resulted in the ejido, or farm cooperative program, that redistributed much of the country's land from the wealthy land holders to the peasants. The ejidos are still in place today and comprise nearly half of all the farmland in Mexico

 

The 1857 Constitution

Constitution Day also honors the 1857 constitution. The 1857 constitution, like the 1917 constitution, was adopted on a February 5th.

The 1857 constitution was a liberal constitution drafted by 1857 Constituent Congress of Mexico during the presidency of Ignacio Comonfort giving birth to the Second Federal Republic of Mexico. It was ratified on February 5, 1857, establishing individual rights such as freedom of speech; freedom of conscience; freedom of the press; freedom of assembly; and the right to bear arms. It also reaffirmed the abolition of slavery, eliminated debtor prison, and eliminated all forms of cruel and unusual punishment, including the death penalty.

Some articles were contrary to the interests of the Catholic Church, such as education free of dogma, the removal of institutional fueros (privileges) and the sale of property belonging to the church. The Conservative Party strongly opposed the enactment of the new constitution and this polarized Mexican society. The Reform War began as a result, and the struggles between liberals and conservatives were intensified with the implementation of the Second Mexican Empire under the support of the church. Years later, with the restored republic, the Constitution was in force throughout the country until 1917.

The War of Reform was a Mexican civil war fought from December 1857 to January 1861, launched by liberal and moderate revolutionists dissatisfied with the Catholic Church’s stranglehold on governmental affairs. The war ended with victory for the liberals and President Benito Juárez brought his administration to Mexico City.

Because of the War of the Reform, the 1857 Constitution remained without effect in almost all of Mexico until January, 1861, when the Liberals returned to the capital. On 1862, as a result of Franco-Mexican War and the establishment of Second Mexican Empire, the Constitution was again suspended. On 1867 the government of Juarez overthrew the Empire, restored the Republic, and the Constitution again took effect in the country.

The 1857 Constitution remained in force until the adoption of the 1917 Constitution. In some ways the 1917 Constitution furthered the spirit of the 1857 Constitution.

Link to comment

February 14th – Valentine’s Day (Día de San Valentín o Día del Amor y la Amistad)


 

Valentine’s Day, (Día de San Valentín), is also called the Día de la Amistad (Day of Friendship), the Día de los Novios (the Day of the Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Sweethearts), and the Día de los Enamorados (the day of the lovers) in Mexico. It’s most formal name, however, is El Día del Amor y la Amistad (The Day of Love and Friendship). It is celebrated each year on February 14th.

In Mexico Valentine’s Day celebrates friendships and amorous unions in a manner similar to how they are celebrated in the United States. Traditionally on Valentine’s Day men give cards, chocolates, flowers, jewelry and/or dinner and a serenade to their girl friend or wife, as well as to other female friends.

Valentine’s Day is a cultural, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and businesses are open as usual.

 

Valentine’s Day Traditions in Mexico

In the 16th century (when the Conquistadors arrived), singing and chanting poetry was a tradition in Aztec Mexico. Some of this Aztec poetry describing ancient Mexico is still recited today. In it you can discover the deep rooted beliefs of Mexicans especially about their innate respect for friendship which they considered to be the gift of the Gods. Therefore in Mexico Valentine’s Day is considered special not only for lovers, romantic partners, and married couples, but also as a day when Mexicans express a genuine, deep rooted respect and appreciation for their friends.

Although Mexico had fertile soil for a holiday celebrating love and friend, Valentine’s Day is first and foremost an imported Anglo-American holiday. Mexican culture, like other cultures around the globe, has embraced Santa Claus, Valentine’s Day, and other aspects of Anglo-American culture. because they like what they found.

As in other countries around the world, Valentine Day gifts usually include flowers like red roses, chocolates or candies, greeting cards, stuffed cuddly and red hearts. In Mexico, you will find the skies contain red balloons with phrases of love printed on them, some of which say, Te Amo (I Love You’); Para Mi Amor (For My Love) and Felicidades (Happiness). On this day, it is also very popular for married couples to celebrate their love by going out for a romantic dinner. If you plan on dining out in Mexico on Valentine’s Day it is wise to book reservations in advance.

Mexican men have a unique way to show their feelings for the women they love or wish to honor. On the evening of Valentine’s Day, they stand beneath the window of the lady they want express their love to; accompanied by a trio of musicians composing a Mariachi band. As in olden times, the man and his band sings romantic songs to win the heart of his lady love.

 

The History of Valentine’s Day

Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is a holiday observed on February 14th honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, giving candy, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in A.D. 496, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.

Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae).

Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred about A.D. 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. His relics are at the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome, and at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.

Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about A.D. 197 and is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (Basilica di San Valentino).

The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of February 14th. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him.

No romantic elements are present in the original early medieval biographies of either of these martyrs. By the time a Saint Valentine became linked to romance in the 14th century, distinctions between Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were utterly lost.

In the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feast day of Saint Valentine on February 14th was removed from the General Roman Calendar and relegated to local or even national calendars for the following reason: “Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14th.” The feast day is still celebrated in Balzan (Malta) where relics of the saint are claimed to be found, and also throughout the world by Traditionalist Catholics who follow the older, pre-Second Vatican Council calendar. February 14th is also celebrated as St Valentine's Day in other Christian denominations; it has, for example, the rank of “commemoration” in the calendar of the Church of England and other parts of the Anglican Communion.

The Early Medieval acta of either Saint Valentine were expounded briefly in Legenda Aurea. According to that version, St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.

Since Legenda Aurea still provided no connections whatsoever with sentimental love, appropriate lore has been embroidered in modern times to portray Valentine as a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to numerically grow his army, believing that married men did not make good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail.

There is an additional modern embellishment to The Golden Legend, provided by American Greetings, and widely repeated despite having no historical basis whatsoever. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he allegedly wrote the first "valentine" card himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his beloved or as the jailer's daughter whom he had befriended and healed. It was a note that read "From your Valentine

Though popular modern sources link unspecified Greco-Roman February holidays alleged to be devoted to fertility and love to St. Valentine's Day, Professor Jack Oruch of the University of Kansas argued that prior to Chaucer, no links between the Saints named Valentinus and romantic love existed. Earlier links as described above were focused on sacrifice rather than romantic love. In the ancient Athenian calendar the period between mid-January and mid-February was the month of Gamelion, dedicated to the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera.

In Ancient Rome, Lupercalia, observed February 13–15, was an archaic rite connected to fertility. Lupercalia was a festival local to the city of Rome. The more general Festival of Juno Februa, meaning "Juno the purifier "or "the chaste Juno", was celebrated on February 13–14. Pope Gelasius I (492–496) abolished Lupercalia.

The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer Chaucer who wrote:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
["For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]

This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381. (When they were married eight months later, they were each only 15 years old).

Readers have uncritically assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine's Day; however, mid-February is an unlikely time for birds to be mating in England. Henry Ansgar Kelly has pointed out that in the liturgical calendar, May 2 is the saints' day for Valentine of Genoa. T his St. Valentine was an early bishop of Genoa who died around AD 307.

Chaucer's Parliament of Foules is set in a fictional context of an old tradition, but in fact there was no such tradition before Chaucer. The speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among 18th-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler's Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. Most notably, the idea that Valentine's Day customs perpetuated those of the Roman Lupercalia has been accepted uncritically and repeated, in various forms, up to the present.

Using the language of the law courts for the rituals of courtly love, a "High Court of Love" was established in Paris on Valentine's Day in 1400. The court dealt with love contracts, betrayals, and violence against women. Judges were selected by women on the basis of a poetry reading. The earliest surviving valentine is a 15th-century rondeau written by Charles, Duke of Orléans to his wife, which commences.

Je suis desja d'amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée...
—Charles d'Orléans, Rondeau VI, lines 1–2[27]

At the time, the duke was being held in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt, 1415.

Valentine's Day is mentioned ruefully by Ophelia in Hamlet (1600–1601):

To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
—William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5

John Donne used the legend of the marriage of the birds as the starting point for his Epithalamion celebrating the marriage of Elizabeth, daughter of James I of England, and Frederick V, Elector Palatine on Valentine's Day:

Hayle Bishop Valentine whose day this is
All the Ayre is thy Diocese
And all the chirping Queristers
And other birds ar thy parishioners
Thou marryest every yeare
The Lyrick Lark, and the graue whispering Doue,
The Sparrow that neglects his life for loue,
The houshold bird with the redd stomacher
Thou makst the Blackbird speede as soone,
As doth the Goldfinch, or the Halcyon
The Husband Cock lookes out and soone is spedd
And meets his wife, which brings her feather-bed.
This day more cheerfully than ever shine
This day which might inflame thy selfe old Valentine.
—John Donne, Epithalamion Vpon Frederick Count Palatine and the Lady Elizabeth marryed on St. Valentines day

The verse Roses are red echoes conventions traceable as far back as Edmund Spenser's epic The Faerie Queene (1590):

She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

The modern cliché Valentine's Day poem can be found in the collection of English nursery rhymes Gammer Gurton's Garland (1784):

The rose is red, the violet's blue
The honey's sweet, and so are you
Thou are my love and I am thine
I drew thee to my Valentine
The lot was cast and then I drew
And Fortune said it shou'd be you.

In 1797, a British publisher issued The Young Man's Valentine Writer, which contained scores of suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own. Printers had already begun producing a limited number of cards with verses and sketches, called "mechanical valentines," and a reduction in postal rates in the next century ushered in the less personal but easier practice of mailing Valentines. That, in turn, made it possible for the first time to exchange cards anonymously, which is taken as the reason for the sudden appearance of racy verse in an era otherwise prudishly Victorian.

Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

Paper Valentines became so popular in England in the early 19th century that they were assembled in factories. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid-19th century. In the UK, just under half of the population spends money on their Valentines and around 1.3 billion pounds are spent yearly on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts, with an estimated 25 million cards being sent.

The reinvention of Saint Valentine's Day in the 1840s has been traced by Leigh Eric Schmidt. As a writer in Graham's American Monthly observed in 1849, "Saint Valentine's Day... is becoming, nay it has become, a national holyday." In the United States, the first mass-produced valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after 1847 by Esther Howland (1828–1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Esther Howland’s father operated a large book and stationery store, but Howland took her inspiration from an English Valentine she had received from a business associate of her father. Intrigued with the idea of making similar Valentines, Howland began her business by importing paper lace and floral decorations from England. The English practice of sending Valentine's cards was established enough to feature as a plot device in Elizabeth Gaskell's Mr. Harrison's Confessions (1851): "I burst in with my explanations: '"The valentine I know nothing about." '"It is in your handwriting", said he coldly. Since 2001, the Greeting Card Association has been giving an annual "Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary."

In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts in the United States. Such gifts typically include roses and chocolates packed in a red satin, heart-shaped box. In the 1980s, the diamond industry began to promote Valentine's Day as an occasion for giving jewelry.

The United States Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the United States. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children. When you include the valentine-exchange cards made in school activities the figure goes up to 1 billion, and teachers become the people receiving the most valentines. In some North American elementary schools, children decorate classrooms, exchange cards, and are given sweets. The greeting cards of these students sometimes mention what they appreciate about each other.

The rise of Internet popularity at the end of the 20th Century is creating new traditions. Millions of people use, every year, digital means of creating and sending Valentine's Day greeting messages such as e-cards, love coupons or printable greeting cards. An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010.

Link to comment

February 19th – Army Day (Día del Ejército) 

Army Day (Día del Ejército) is a civic, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and businesses are open as usual. The Mexican flag is flown at full staff on the Día del Ejército in the manner provided for under the Ley sobre el Escudo, Bandera y el Himno Nacionales (Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem).

 

Origin and Significance of Army Day

On February 19, 1917, following the official end of Mexican Revolution that began in 1910 which ousted Portolio Diaz, President Carranza signed a decree organizing the New Mexican army. Since then Army Day (Día del Ejército) has been a Mexican holiday celebrated on February 19th.

As I see things, Army Day (Día del Ejército) in Mexico honors the past accomplishment of Mexican military forces in fighting various wars for Mexico’s independence and protecting the nation from foreign powers (discussed below) rather than horning Mexico’s current military forces. I see Army Day as being somewhat analogous to Veteran’s Day in the United States which honors the wartime sacrifices of those veterans who have fought on behalf of the United States.

The Mexican Army (Ejército Mexicano) is the combined land and air forces in Mexico and largest of the Mexican Military services. It also is known as the National Defense Army.

The Mexican army is famous for having been the first army to adopt and use an automatic rifle, (the Mondragón rifle), in 1899, and the first to issue automatic weapons as standard issue weapons, in 1908. The Mexican Army has a (2011 estimated) active duty force of 469,935 men.

 

Conscription

Legally, every Mexican man is obligated to a year of servicio militar nacional—national military service (SMN)—, but currently it is only a few hours of drill or social services on weekends, not true military training. Most conscripts will have received at most only one marksmanship session at a rifle range by the time they have completed their NMS obligation and are not integrated nor operate with regular Army units, and as such despite the national military service obligation the Army is actually a fully professional career force.

Those drafted attend and participate in weekend sessions that really are a social service in nature, with emphasizes on education, history, physical fitness, and military discipline for one complete year. Afterward, the precartilla (pre-military identity card) is returned to the conscript with an added page certifying his status as having fulfilled his national military service and identifies the military branch, the unit, rank, etc. The document then acquires full status as the Cartilla del Servicio Militar Nacional (Military National Service Identity Card), informally Cartilla; this status is recorded to the National Defense Secretariat files.

The Cartilla (Military National Service Identity Card) is an important form of Mexican national identification, and its existence was formerly always requested by private and public employers, however, this identity document has ceased being required for obtaining a passport for international travel.

 

Mexican Military Actions

Mexico has no foreign adversaries and little ambition to impose itself upon other nations. It has repudiated the use of force to settle disputes and rejects interference by one nation in the affairs of another. Although it has not suffered a major terrorist incident, Mexico considers itself a potential target for international terrorism.

As stated above, Army Day (Día del Ejército) in Mexico honors the past accomplishment of Mexican military forces in fighting various wars on behalf of the nation to establish and preserving what is now the Republic of Mexico. Among these wars are:

 

The Mexican War of Independence

The Army of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was the military force started the war that gained Mexico’s independence from Spain. The revolution started in the early morning of September 16, 1810. Hidaglo had loyal supporters, among them Mariano Abasolo and a small army equipped with swords, spears, slingshots and sticks. Captain General Ignacio Allende was the military brain of the insurgents in the first phase of the War of Independence which acheived several victories over the Spanish Royal Army. Their troops were about 5,000 strong and were latter joined by squadrons of the Royal Regiment whose members in turn contributed infantry battalions and cavalry squadrons to the insurrection cause.

The Spaniards believed it was important to defend the fortified plaza in Guanajuato, named Alhóndiga de Granaditas, to maintain the flow of water, weapons, food, and ammunition to the Spanish Royal Army. The insurgents entered the town of Guanajuato and proceeded to lay siege on the Alhóndiga. In this attack the insurgents suffered heavy casualties until Juan Jose de los Reyes, the Pípila put a slab of rock on his back to protect himself from enemy fire and crawled to the large wooden door of the Alhóndiga with a torch in hand to set it on fire. With this stunt the insurgents managed to bring down the door and enter the building and overrun it. Hidalgo then latter arrived at Valladolid (now Morelia) without encountering resistance. The Insurgent Army by then was over 60,000 strong but was mostly formed of poorly armed men with arrows, sticks, tillage tools and very few guns which they had taken from the Spaniard's stocks.

In Aculco the Royal Spanish forces under the command of the Royalist Felix Maria Calleja, Count of Calderón, and Don Manuel de Flon with 200 infantrymen, 500 cavalry troops and 12 cannons defeated the insurgents whose loses included many men and the artillery they had obtained at Battle of Monte de las Cruces. On November 29, 1810 Hidalgo made his entrance to Guadalajara, the capital of Nueva Galicia, where he organized the government and the Insurgent Army. This is where he formally promulgated the abolition of slavery.

At Calderon Bridge (Puente de Calderón) near the city of Guadalajara Jalisco, insurgents had a hard-fought battle with the royalists. During the fierce fighting an nsurgent wagon full of ammunition exploded resulting in their defeat. All their artillery was lost as well as much of their other equipment and the lives of many men.

At the Wells of Baján (Norias de Baján) near Monclova, Coahuila, a former royalist named Ignacio Elizondo who had joined the revolution betrayed them and seized Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (a Catholic priest and the leader of the Rebolution), Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, José Mariano Jiménez and the rest of their entourage. They were brought to the city of Chihuahua where they were tried by a military court and executed by a firing squad on July 30, 1811. Hidalgo’s death resulted in a political vacuum for the insurgents until 1812.

Meanwhile the royalist military commander, General Félix María Calleja, continued to pursue rebel troops. The Insurgent fighting evolved into guerrilla warfare and eventually the next major leader to arise for the revolution was the priest José María Morelos y Pavón who had led the insurgent movement alongside Hidalgo before his execution. Morelos fortified the port of Acapulco and took the city of Chilpancingo. Along the way Morelos was joined by Leonardo Bravo, his son Nicholas, his brothers Max, Victor and Miguel Bravo.

Morelos led several campaigns in the south managing to conquer much of the region. He also gave orders that resulted in the first constitution for the emergent Mexican nation, called the Constitution of Apatzingan, which was drafted in 1814. In 1815 Morelos was apprehended and executed by a firing squad. His death concluded the second phase of the Mexican War for Independence.

From 1815 to 1820 the independence movement became sluggish. For a time it was briefly reinvigorated by Francisco Javier Mina and Pedro Moreno; however, they were quickly apprehended and also executed.

It was not until late 1820 when one of the insurgents, Agustín de Iturbide, negotiated with Vicente Guerrero the accord called El Plan de Iguala which formed the Ejército Trigarante, (The Army of the Three Guarantees), to further the goal of securing the Mexican independence. With this new alliance insurgent forces were able to enter Mexico City on September 27, 1821, successfully concluding the Mexican War for Independence.

 

The Pastry War

The Pastry War was the first French intervention in Mexico. Following the widespread civil disorder that plagued the early years of the Mexican republic, the fighting in the streets destroyed a great deal of personal property. Foreigners whose property was damaged or destroyed by rioters or bandits were usually unable to obtain compensation from the Mexican government, and began to appeal to their own governments for help.

In 1838 a French pastry cook, Monsieur Remontel, claimed that his shop in the Tacubaya district of Mexico City had, in 1828, been ruined by looting Mexican army officers. He appealed to France’s King Louis-Philippe (1773–1850). Coming to its citizen’s aid, France demanded 600,000 pesos in damages. This amount was extremely high when one considers an average worker’s daily pay was about one peso. Additionally Mexico had defaulted on millions of dollars worth of loans from France. Diplomat Baron Deffaudis gave Mexico an ultimatum to pay, or the French would demand satisfaction. When the payment was not made by Pesident Anastasio Bustamante of Mexico(1780–1853), the Frency sent a fleet under Rear Admiral Charles Baudin to declare a blockade of all Mexican ports from Yucatán to the Rio Grande, to bombard the Mexican fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, and to seize the port of Veracruz. Virtually the entire Mexican Navy was captured by the Frency at Veracruz in December 1838., resulting in Mexico declaring war on France.

With trade cut off, the Mexicans began smuggling imports into Mexico through Corpus Christi, Texas. Fearing this would result in France also blockading Texan ports, forces of the Republic of Texas began patrolling Corpus Christi Bay to stop Mexican smugglers. One smuggling party abandoned their cargo of about a hundred barrels of flour on the beach at the mouth of the bay, thus giving Flour Bluff its name. The United States, ever watchful of its relations with Mexico, sent the schooner Woodbury to help the French in their blockade. Talks between the France and the Republic of Texas followed with France agreeing not to violate the soil or waters of the Republic of Texas. With the diplomatic intervention of the United Kingdom, eventually President Bustamante promised to pay the 600,000 pesos and the French forces withdrew on March 9, 1839.

 

The Mexican–American War

After the United States territorial expansion of the 19th century, under Manifest Destiny had reached the banks of the Rio Grande, Mexican President José Joaquín de Herrera sent an army of 6,000 men to defend the Mexican northern frontier from further expansion.

On March 4, 1845 James K. Polk became president of the United States. One of the goals of his administration is acquire California and New Mexico from Mexico. The main interest was San Francisco Bay as an access point for trade with Asia. Polk claims the Rio Grande as the boundary between the United States and Mexico based on the Treaties of Velasco. Mexico, however, had never ratified these treaties, which were signed by Santa Anna while he was a prisoner in Texas. The disputed area had never been a part of the viceroy of Texas under Mexican rule, but had been parts of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Chihuahua and Nuevo Mexico .

On March 28, 1845 Mexican Senate breaks off negotiations, and gives interim President Herrera. authority to raise troops and prepare for war. Today it is said that Herrera preferred peaceful negotiations; however, he later sent 6,000 troops to the Texas border who in time launched a surprise attack—discussed below—on American troops which the explosive event that started the Mexican-American War.

On September 15, 1845 Interim president Herrera wins the election becoming president of Mexico.

On November 29, 1845 former United States Congressmen John Slidell arrives at Veracruz to negotiate with the Mexican government. He is authorized to offer $25 million for the disputed Rio Grande border area in Texas and Mexico's provinces of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico. Mexicans considered this an insult to their national honor. When Mexican President Jose Joaquin de Herrera considers receiving Slidell in order to peacefully negotiate the problem of Texas annexation he is accused of treason and deposed by followers of Santa Anna. However, he was able to regain power and the presidency.

On Dec 29, 1845 Texas becomes the 28th state of the United States. Mexico breaks diplomatic relations with the United States

On March 28, 1846 General Zackary Taylor reaches the Rio Grande. The Mexican commander in Matamoros, Cornel Francisco Mejia, considers this an invasion of Mexican territory, but is not authorized to attack. Taylor erects a camp named Fort Texas with 2,200 men. Mejia has 3,000 men under his command.

On April 25, 1846--without Mexico having declaring war on the United States--a Mexican force under Colonel Anastasio Torrejon surprised and defeated American troops at Rancho de Carricitos in Matamoros in an event that would latter be known as the Thornton Skirmish. The event resulted in the death of 16 American soldiers and resulted in the United States declaring war on Mexico.

On May 7, 1846 at Battle of Palo Alto Mexican General Arista with 3,300 tropps confronted Taylor's force of 2,300 soldiers. American 'flying artillery' wreaked havok on the Mexican forces. Mexican cavalry charge under Torrejon who are dispersed by accurate fire. Mexicans withdraw with 400 causalities, Americans have 9 killed.

On May 8, 1846 Mexican General Arista deploys his forces in an empty lake bed with his army in a narrow line. United States. General Taylor attacks his center, overrunning the Mexican artillery. Mexicans retreat across the Rio Grande. Mexican losses are 200 killed; United States loses are 39 killed.

On May 19, 1886 the blockade of Tampico starts. On May 20 the blockade of Veracruz starts.

On May 13, 1846, at the request of President Polk, in response for attack on American forces at Rancho de Carrictions in Matamoros, the United States Congress declares war on Mexico.

On May 17, 1846 United States General Taylor crosses Rio Grande and takes Matamoros, which has been abandoned by the Mexican army. Mexican General Arista retreats toward Linares, Nuevo Leon, losing many men in the desert. Arista subsequently resigns command to General Jose Maria Ortega.

On July 4, 1846 American settlers in California declare themselves independent of Mexico and establish “Bear Flag” Republic. They are supported by some Mexicans residents of Alta California who subsequently fight with the Americans against Mexican forces.

On July 7, 1946 the Mexican Congress declares war on the United States.

On August 16, 1846 Santa Anna returns to Veracruz after exile in Cuba on a British ship saying he will help conclude a peace.

On September 20, 1846, the Americans launched an attack on Monterrey which fell after five days. After the United States victory in Monterrey hostilities were suspended for seven weeks allowing Mexican troops to leave the city with their flags displayed in full honors.

On February 22, 1847 the Battle of Buena Vista is fought. Shortly after sunrise Santa Anna’s 18,000 troops appear and he sends a surrender order to Taylor, who rejects it (“Tell Santa Anna to go to hell!”). Flying artillery breaks up Mexican attacks. Mexicans lose are 1,800 killed, Americans loses 267. Santa Anna orders a retreat at night toward Agua Nueva. Taylor retires toward Monterrey.

On March 9, 1847 the American land 8,600 soldiers under the command of General Winfield Scott initiating the siege of Veracruz. On March 28th Veracruz surrenders.

On April 14, 1847 the Battle of Cerro Gordo is fought. Santa Anna deploys 12,000 troops and 43 field pieces on the National Highway to Mexico City to block the American advance of less than 9,000 soldiers. A flanking maneuver and frontal assault breaks the Mexican line when Captain Robert E. Lee, one of Scott’s staff officers, discovered a mountain trail around Santa Anna’s position. Mexican troops retreat in panic; 3,000 Mexican are taken prisoner. Americans loses are 63 killed. General Santa Anna, caught off guard by the Fourth Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry, was compelled to flee without his artificial leg, which was captured and is still displayed in Illinois.

On August 20, 1847 Santa Anna flees back to Mexico City. Mexican loses are 4,000 dead and 3,000 captured. Americans losses are 139 killed.

On August 22, 1847 Scott grants Santa Anna a truce, hoping he will ask for terms. He doesn’t.

On September 12, 1847 Scott orders to bombardment of the hilltop castle of Chapultepec, the last major defense before Mexico City. It is defended by 260 soldiers under General Bravo, 50 of which are young cadets. The next day the lower defenses are overcome in a fierce hand to hand struggle. Scaling ladders are brought up and by 9:30 AM Col. Joseph E. Johnson’s troops have unfurled the American flag atop the castle. Six cadets fight to the death, one jumping to his death holding the Mexican flag. Today they are known as los Ninos Heros (the Boy Heroes). Santa Ana flees to Mexico City.

On September 14, 1847 Scott's army enters Mexico City. A couple of days of severe rioting follows. Santa Anna regroups at Guadalupe.

October 8, 1847 Santa Anna is ordered to turn over military command to Rincon and prepare to stand trial for his conduct of the war.

On November 11, 1847 elections are held in unoccupied parts of Mexico. Anaya become interim president.

On February 2, 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed. America receives California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. The United States pays Mexico $15 million in compensation and assumes responsibility for the $3.5 million in claims by American citizens against Mexico. Mexicans living in lands ceded to the United States (about 80,000) become United States citizens.

Mexican forces made many heroic attempts to defend their county. Some of which are still commemorated today such the September 13th Boy Heroes or Heroic Cadets (Día de los Niños Héroes) holiday. However, the Mexican military forces were no match for the American military and were soundly defeated on multiple occasions by troops lead by General Zachary Taylor in Northern Mexico and General Winfield Scott in Southern and Central Mexico.

It is correct to say (as Mexicans often do) that American desire for territorial expansion (Manifest Destiny) lead to the Mexican-American War. However, it not correct to say (as Mexicans often do) that Manifest Destiny was what started the war. (Mexico could have negotiated a peaceful settlement of the differences between the two nations when United States Special Envoy Slidell went to Mexico instead of breaking off diplomatic relations with the United States.)

The surprise attack on April 25, 1846, by Mexican force under Colonel Anastasio Torrejon at the Rancho de Carricitos in Matamoros that resulted in the defeat and death of American troops, latter known as the Thornton Skirmish, was the event that launched the Mexican-American War. It was an extremely ill convinced act exclusively of Mexican making (which today Mexicans try to ignore even happened, just as Japan tries to ignore their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor). This surprise attack proved disastrous for Mexico. It was the incendiary event that launched the Mexican-American War resulting in the loss of California and large portions of Mexican territory that now forms the Southwest of the United States.

 

French Intervention in Mexico

The French intervention in Mexico was an invasion of Mexico by an expeditionary force sent by the Second French Empire, supported in the beginning by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain. It followed President Benito Juárez’s suspension of interest payments to foreign countries on July 17, 1861, which angered Mexico’s major creditors: Spain, France, and Britain.

(Unpaid Mexican debts to American citizens were one of the causes—a cause that today Mexicans try to ignore—for the Mexican-American War discussed above. The treaty ending the Mexican-American War resulted in the settlement of Mexican debts to Americans, but not those to Spain, France, and Britain. In the treaty ending the Mexican-American War the United States agreed to pay Mexico’s debts to American citizens as part of the payment Mexico received for the land it ceded to the United States.)

Napoleon III of France was the instigator because, in part, his foreign policy was based on a commitment to free trade. For him, a friendly government in Mexico provided an opportunity to expand free trade by ensuring European access to important markets, and preventing a monopoly by the United States. Napoleon III also needed the silver that could be mined in Mexico to finance his empire. Napoleon built a coalition with Spain and Britain when the United States was fighting the Civil War. The United States protested but could not intervene directly until the Civil War ended in 1865.

The three powers signed the Treaty of London on October 31, 1861, to unite their efforts to receive payments from Mexico. On December, 8, 1861 the Spanish fleet and troops from Spanish-controlled Cuba arrived at Mexico’s main Gulf port, Veracruz. When the British and Spanish discovered that the French planned to invade Mexico, they withdrew.

The subsequent French invasion resulted in the Second Mexican Empire, which was supported by the Roman Catholic clergy, many conservative elements of the upper class, and some indigenous communities. The presidential term of Benito Juárez (1858–71) was interrupted by the rule of the Habsburg monarchy in Mexico (1864–67). Conservatives, and many in the Mexican nobility, tried to revive the monarchical form of government. They helped to bring about the rule of Mexico by an archduke from the Royal House of Austria, Maximilian Ferdinand, or Maximilian I of Mexico (who married Charlotte of Belgium, also known as Carlota of Mexico), with the military support of France. France had various interests in this affair, such as seeking reconciliation with Austria, which had been defeated during the Franco-Austrian War, counterbalancing the growing power of the Unites States by developing a powerful Catholic neighboring empire, and exploiting the rich mines in the north-west of the country.

The Battle of Puebla—better know as Cinco de Mayo for the May 5, 1862 date on which it was fought--occurred during this period of Mexico’s history. In the Cinco de Mayo battle outnumbered Mexican forces, underGeneral Ignacio Zargosa, defeated the larger and better equipped French forces. However, this victory did not result in Mexico being able to expel Maximilian and the French troops.

Shortly after Lee surrendered to Grant, Union General Phil Sheridan was sent to take command of the United States forces in Texas. This put a very competent general in command of 50,000 veteran troops on the Mexican border. The United States then informed France that the presence of French forces in Mexico was a matter of grave concern. France took the hint and withdrew it military forces from Mexico. Following the departure of the French military the Mexican military forces were in due time able to depose Maximilian I as Emperor of Mexico and restore the Republic of Mexico. Maximilian was executed on June 19, 1867.

(On the Paseo de los Heroes in Tijuana, Mexico is a statue of Abraham Lincoln holding broken chains in his hands. Many Americans erroneously believe the chains symbolize the emancipation proclamation ending slavery in the United States. The broken chains actually symbolize Lincoln’s efforts to end what Mexican’s perceive as having been their enslavement by Maximilian and the French. Although Lincoln was unable to send troops to assist the Mexican military he—somehow—was able in the middle of the Civil War found a way to send military supplies to aid the Mexican forces fighting the French. Because of this assistance (and no doubt for additional reasons) Lincoln is popular in Mexico. The statue of Lincoln in Tijuana on Paseo de los Heroes commerates the aid Lincoln sent Mexico during its struggle to defeat the French and overthrow Maximilian I as emperor of Mexico.)

 

The Mexican War on Drugs

Although violence among drug cartels started long before Mexico’s war on drugs began, the Mexican government took a passive stance regarding cartel violence in the 1990s and first years of the 21st century. That changed on December 11, 2006, when newly elected President Felipe Calderón sent 6,500 federal troops to the state of Michoacán to end drug violence there. This action is regarded as the first major retaliation made against the cartel violence, and is generally viewed as the starting point of the war between the government and the drug cartels. As time progressed, Calderón continued to escalate his anti-drug campaign, in which there are now about 45,000 troops involved along with state and federal police forces.

In recent times, the Mexican military has increased its efforts against drug trafficking. The operaciones contra el narcotrafico (operations against drug trafficking), for example, describes its purpose in regards to the performance of the Mexican Army and Air Force in the permanent campaign against the drug trafficking is sustained properly in the faculties that the Executive of the Nation grants to him, the 89 Art. Fracc. VI of the Constitution of the Mexican United States, when indicating that it is faculty of the President of the Republic to have the totality of the permanent Armed Forces, that is of the terrestrial Army, Navy military and the Air Force for the inner and outer security of the federation.

The Mexican Drug War during Calderón’s presidency has seen much bloodshed both among the cartels and between the cartels and Mexican police and military forces. Even more troubling is the high number of civilian deaths that have occurred. In some cities and states the cartels have become the de facto government. In many polities the cartels murder public officials that the cartels dislike for their acts, sentiments, etc. There are places no civilian without ties to the cartel dares to run for public office.

However, the War on Drugs under Calderón has not been popular with the Mexican populace. Nor has it been particularly successful. It will be interesting to see what happens when Calderón leaves office. It is possible Mexico will revert to a policy of turning a blind eye to the cartels. It is also possible the government will ally itself with one of the cartels in the hope that the cartel will achieved dominance and on becoming dominant will use its power and influence to end the violence. Presently Mexico faces the possibility of the cartels becoming the de facto government, as was the case for many years in Columbia. This possibility is all the more troubling when one considers the various periods of anarchy and banditry in Mexico’s history.

 

Mexican Response to U.S. Hurricane Katrina Victims

Mexican Army & Navy Provide Relief Aid to Needy Americans

The Mexican Army and Navy provided aid to United States residents when Hurricane Katrina inflicted so much damage on the United State’s gulf coast.

On August 30, 2005, Mexican President Vicente Fox sent his condolences to President George W. Bush: "In the name of the people and of the government of Mexico, I assure you of my deepest and most sincere condolences for the devastating effects caused by Hurricane Katrina". He also mentioned his instructions to the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs; that the United States would be provided with any kind of help that was needed. Fox later stated to the peop le of Mexico: "Mexico and the United States are neighboring countries and friends that must support each other in times of crisis. My thanks to you all and let us all keep supporting these efforts."

On September 1, Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas received almost 196 Mexican troops, 14 truckloads of water, a mobile surgical unit, 45 military vehicles, 3 tons of purified water, and more than 250 tons of food, bottled water, canned food, disposable diapers and medical supplies. The Mexican Government sent $1 million through the Mexican Red Cross which collected an additional million, as well as 200 tons of food delivered in five airplanes from the Mexican Air Force by another Mexican Government body. The Mexican Navy sent two ships, eight all-terrain vehicles, seven amphibious vehicles, two tankers, two helicopters, radio communication equipment, and medical personnel. Mexican aid workers set up temporary headquarters in the Houston Astrodome to assist relief workers and hurricane victims were very grateful for the aid that the Mexicans provided. The Mexicans provided hot meals to evacuees and relief workers, and Mexican medical teams also deployed into local area hospitals to tend to the influx of evacuees who flooded San Antonio area hospitals.

The medical team consisted of three doctors, three dentists, three nurses and three paramedics. They conducted 134 medical evaluations, performed 526 medical consultations, provided 363 ambulatory nursing procedures, and medically evacuated 83 personnel during their hurricane relief mission. They also offered to cover the costs of returning Mexican nationals back to Mexico. Also offered were teams of epidemiologists to reduce the risks of infections caused by mosquitoes.

The Mexican Red Cross sent four rescue experts from the state of Jalisco to assist in rescue efforts in New Orleans. The government of the Mexican Federal District also pledged to help with relief efforts.

On September 4, the Mexican Navy offered ships, buses and helicopters to assist in rescue missions. The offer was accepted and the Mexican ship Papaloapan departed from Tampico, with two Mi-17 helicopters, eight all-terrain vehicles, seven amphibious vehicles, two tankers, radio communication equipment, medical personnel and 250 tons of food.

On September 5, the Secretariat of Social Development pledged 200 tons of food, to be delivered in five airplanes by the Mexican Air Force. The Secretariat of National Defense, on September 6, sent Mexican soldiers with expertise in rescue missions to the area affected by Katrina. Also sent the same day were 35 vehicles and 162.7 tons of food, carried by trucks traveling through the state of Texas.

The members of congress of the Federal District pledged a day of salary each on September 7, to be sent to those affected by Katrina. The National Commission of Water sent bottled water and canned food upon request. Naval ship Papaloapan arrived the same day, with 389 soldiers and other personnel from the Mexican Navy. Units of the Mexican Army, a total of 184 people, arrived by land with 35 military vehicles.

On September 8th, the Mexican Army was received with honors at Kelly Air Force Base by the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Local news channels noted the fact that the Mexican Army operated on United States soil after 159 years of absence, with the last time being the Mexican-American War.

The Mexican Army's field kitchen, a tractor-trailer turned into a kitchen, served 170,000 meals during their deployment to the former Kelly Air Force Base. They also assisted in the distribution and management of more than 184,000 tons of supplies.

On September 26, 2005 in a small ceremony conducted by the Mexican consulate, the Mexican troops ceremonially ended their mission. They broke down their camp, packed their equipment, folded their flag and drove back to Mexico. Not since the 1840s has the Mexican military flown its flag as a deployed military force in the United States, especially so close to the site of the famed battle of the Alamo where Texan volunteers fought the Mexicans in a bloody 13 day siege.

Link to comment

February 24th – Flag Day (Día de la Bandera) 

The Día de la Bandera (Flag Day) has been celebrated every year in Mexico on February 24th since its implementation in 1937. Flag Day is a civic, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and businesses are open as usual. The Mexican flag is flown at full staff on the Día de la Bandera in the manner provided for under the Ley sobre el Escudo, Bandera y el Himno Nacionales (Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem).

Flag Day was established by the General Lázaro Cárdenas, President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940, before the monument to General Vicente Guerrero, who was the first person to pledge allegiance to the Mexican flag on March 12, 1821, during Mexico's war to win independence from Spain.

 

The Mexican Pledge of Allegiance

When the Mexican pledge of allegiance is recited, it is customary to salute the flag with the raised right arm in the Bellamy Salute while speaking. When the flag is being paraded, the right arm is held across the chest, palm parallel to the ground.

The Bellamy salute is the salute described above created by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931) to accompany the American Pledge of Allegiance, which he wrote. During the period when it was used with the Pledge of Allegiance, it was sometimes known as the "Flag salute". It was first demonstrated on October 12, 1892 according to Bellamy's published instructions for the "National School Celebration of Columbus Day."

The inventor of the saluting gesture was James B. Upham, junior partner and editor of The Youth's Companion. It consists of holding the right hand over the heart until the speaker reaches the phrase "to the flag" at which time the right arm is extended towards the flag at a 45 degree.

The use of the Bellamy salute was discontinued in the United States during World War II because of its similarity to the Nazi salute. On December 22, 1942 Congress amended the flag code replacing the Bellamy salute with the current salute in which the right hand is held over the heart.

 

The Mexican Flag

The Mexican flag consists of three vertical bands in green, white and red, with the Mexican coat of arms (which portrays an eagle on a prickly pear cactus with a snake in its beak and talons) in the center of the white band. The flag's proportion is 4:7.

The flag, along with the Mexican Coat of Arms (escudo nacional) and the National Anthem, are considered (some of the) símbolos patrios, “patriotic symbols” of Mexico.

 

History and Meaning of the Mexican Flag

A legacy that Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Arámburu (the general who commanded the rebel forces when Mexico obtained its independence from Spain and the man who later became emperor of Mexico) left to Mexico was its modern flag. The three colors of red, white and green originally represented the three guarantees of the Plan of Iguala, was the plan upon which Mexican independence was supposed to the based. (The three guarantees of the Plan of Iguala were: (1) Mexico would be independent from Madrid, (2) Roman Catholicism would be the official religion, and (3) all of Spanish blood, whether born in Spain or in the Americas, would be able to live as equals in the new state.) In the place of the Spanish emblem for Mexico, Iturbide resurrected the old Tenochtitlan symbol for Mexico City, an eagle perched on a nopal cactus holding a snake in its beak. With it he hoped to link the upcoming Mexican Empire with the old Aztec one.

Mexico's flag as it is today was adopted in 1968, though a very similar flag had been in use since 1821. Originally the green represented independence, white represented religion, and red the union of Native Americans and Europeans, but during the secularization of the country under President Benito Juarez, president of Mexico from 1858 to 1872, the meanings of the colors were adapted to represent hope (green), unity (white), and the blood of the national heroes (red).

 

The Mexican Coat of Arms
The Mexican Coat of Arms is taken from an Aztec legend which recounts the way in which the Aztecs came to choose the site where they built their capital city of Tenochtitlan (where Mexico City stands today). The Aztecs, also known as the Mexica (“meh-shee-ka’), were a nomadic people traveling from the north of the country. Their leader was informed in a dream by the god of war, Huitzilopochtli that they were to settle in the place where they would find an eagle on a prickly pear cactus holding a serpent. The place where they saw this sight was quite inhospitable - a swampy area in the center of three lakes, but this is where they settled and built the great city of Tenochtitlan.

The Mexican Pledge of Allegiance is:
Bandera de México,
Legado de Nuestros Héroes,
Símbolo de la Unidad
de nuestros Padres
y de nuestros Hermanos.

Te prometemos:
Ser siempre fieles
a los principios de
la libertad y la justicia,
que hacen de Nuestra
Patria la Nación
Independiente, humana
y generosa a la que
entregamos nuestra existencia.

A rough translation of it is:

Mexican flag
legacy from our heroes
symbol of the unity of our parents **
and our brothers **

We promise you:
To be always loyal
to the principles of freedom and justice
that makes this an independent,
human and generous nation ,
to which we dedicate our existence.

**The words "padres" and "hermanos" literally mean parents and brothers, but in this case, parents might be translated as “our ancestors” and brothers is used in the sense that all fellow country men are brothers and sisters.
Link to comment

February 28th – Death of Cuauhtemoc (Muerte de Cuauhtémoc)

 

February 28th is a cultural, not statutory, holiday in remembrance of the death of Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec ruler. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and businesses are open as usual. The Mexican flag is flown at half staff on February 28th in remembrance of the death of Cuauhtémoc in the manner provided for under the Ley sobre el Escudo, Bandera y el Himno Nacionales (Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem)

 

Cuauhtémoc

Cuauhtémoc (also known as Cuauhtemotzin, Guatimozin or Guatemoc; c. 1495 – February 28, 1525) was the Aztec ruler (tlatoani) of Tenochtitlan from 1520 to 1521. The (Nahuatl) name Cuāuhtemōc (pronounced kʷaːʍˈtemoːk) means “One That Has Descended Like an Eagle”, commonly rendered in English as “Swooping Eagle” as in the moment when an eagle folds its wings and plummets down to strike its prey, so this is a name that implies aggressiveness and determination.

Cuauhtémoc took power in 1520 as successor of Cuitláhuac and was a cousin of the former emperor Moctezuma II. His young wife, who would later be known as Isabel Moctezuma, was one of Moctezuma’s daughters. He ascended to the throne when he was 25 years of age, as his city was being besieged by the Spanish and devastated by an epidemic of smallpox brought to the New World by Conquestadores. Probably after the killings in the main temple, there were few Aztec captains available to take the position.

On August 13, 1521, Cuauhtémoc went to call for reinforcements from the countryside to aid the falling Tenochtitlán, after eighty days of continuous urban warfare against the Spanish. Of all the Nahuas, only Tlatelolcas remained loyal, and the surviving Tenochcas looked for refuge in Tlatelolco where even women took part in the battle. Cuauhtémoc was captured while fleeing Tenochtitlán by crossing Lake Texcoco in disguise with his wife, family, and friends. He surrendered to Hernán Cortés along with the surviving pipiltin (nobles), and offered him his knife and asked to be killed.

At first, Cortés treated his foe chivalrously. “A Spaniard knows how to respect valor even in an enemy,” Cortés declared. However, he allowed Aldrete, the royal treasurer, to have Cuauhtemoc tortured to make him reveal the location of hidden treasure. Cuauhtémoc, insisting that there was no hidden treasure, stood up under the ordeal.

Cuauhtémoc was tortured by having his feet put to a fire, along with Tetlepanquetzal, the tlatoani of Tlacopán, and the Cihuacóatl (counselor) Tlacotzin, but even under torture they refused to divulge information about the treasures the Spanish sought.

It is said that during the torture, Tetlepanquetzal asked him to reveal the location of the treasures in order to stop the pain given to them, and Cuauhtémoc is quoted to say “Do you think I am in a bath for pleasure?” This would be popularized in the 19th century as “Do you think I am in a bed of roses?” The date and details of this episode are unknown. In the end, a shamed Cortés delivered Cuauhtémoc from Aldrete's hands.

(Eventually Cortés recovered some gold from a noble's house, but most of the tales about "Aztec gold" were a myth. Since for the Aztecs, gold had no intrinsic value, they did not have big solid pieces of gold, instead they preferred wood covered with gold. After those pieces were melted, they only gave a fraction of the gold that Cortés and his men expected.)

In 1525, Cortés took Cuauhtémoc and several other indigenous nobles on his expedition to Honduras, fearing that Cuauhtémoc could have led an insurrection in his absence. While the expedition stopped in the Chontal Maya capital of Itzamkanac, known as Acalan in Nahuatl, Cortés had Cuauhtémoc executed for allegedly conspiring to kill him and the other Spaniards.

There are a number of discrepancies in the various accounts of the event. According to Cortés himself, on 27 February 1525 it was revealed to him by a citizen of Tenochtitlan named Mexicalcingo that Cuauhtémoc, Coanacoch (the ruler of Texcoco) and Tetlepanquetzal (the ruler of Tlacopan) were plotting his death. Cortés interrogated them until each confessed, and then had Cuauhtémoc, Tetlepanquetzal, and another lord named Tlacatlec hanged. Cortés wrote that the other lords would be too frightened to plot against him again, as they believed he had uncovered the plan through magic powers. Cortés's account is supported by the historian Francisco López de Gómara.

According to Bernal Díaz del Castillo, a conquistador serving under Cortés who recorded his experiences in his book The Conquest of New Spain, the supposed plot was revealed by two men, named Tapia and Juan Velásquez. Díaz portrays the executions as unjust and based on no evidence, and admits to having liked Cuauhtémoc personally. He also records Cuauhtémoc giving the following speech to Cortés, through his interpreter Malinche:

Oh Malinzin [ Cortés]. Now I understand your false promises and the kind of death you have had in store for me. For you are killing me unjustly. May God demand justice from you, as it was taken from me when I entrusted myself to you in my city of Mexico.

Díaz wrote that afterwards, Cortés suffered from insomnia due to guilt, and badly injured himself while wandering at night.

Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxóchitl, a Mestizo historian and descendant of Coanacoch, wrote an account of the executions in the 17th century partly based on Texcocan oral tradition. According to Ixtlilxóchitl the three lords were joking cheerfully with each other, due to a rumor that Cortés had decided to return the expedition to Mexico, when Cortés asked a spy to tell him what they are talking about. The spy reported honestly, but Cortés invented the plot himself. Cuauhtémoc, Coanacoch and Tetlepanquetzal were all hanged, as well as eight others. However, Cortés cut down Coanacoch, the last to be hanged, after his brother began rallying his warriors. Coanacoch did not have long to enjoy his reprieve—Ixtlilxóchitl wrote that he died a few days later.

Many places in Mexico are named in honor of Cuauhtémoc. These include Ciudad Cuauhtémoc in Chihuahua and the Cuauhtémoc borough of the Mexican Federal District. There is a statue of Cuauhtémoc on Avenida Reforma in Mexico City. The inscription at the bottom of the statue translates as “In memory of Cuauhtémoc (spelled Quautemoc) and his warriors who battled heroically in defense of their country.”

 

There is also a Cuauhtémoc station on the Mexico City metro and the Monterrey Metrorrey. In Tijuana there is a Cuauhtémoc statue on Paseo de los Hereos. Cuauhtémoc is one of the few non-Spanish given names that is perennially popular for Mexican boys.

Link to comment

March 8th – International Women’s Day (Día de las Mujeres)

 

El Día de las Mujeres (International Women’s Day), celebrated on March 8th, is a civic, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and businesses are open as usual.

International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated on March 8th every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation, and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political, and social achievements. Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavor and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

 

History

The first national Women's Day was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. In August 1910, an International Women's Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen. Inspired in part by the American socialists, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual 'International Woman's Day' (singular) and was seconded by communist Clara Zetkin, although no date was specified at that conference. Delegates (100 women from 17 countries) agreed with the idea as a strategy to promote equal rights, including suffrage, for women. The following year, on 18 March 1911, IWD was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire alone, there were 300 demonstrations. In Vienna, women paraded on the Ringstrasse and carried banners honouring the martyrs of the Paris Commune. Women demanded that women be given the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against employment sex discrimination. Americans continued to celebrate National Women's Day on the last Sunday in February.

Female members of the Australian Builders Labourers Federation march on International Women's Day 1975 in Sydney

In 1913 Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February (by Julian calendar then used in Russia). In 1917 demonstrations marking International Women's Day in Saint Petersburg on the last Sunday in February (which fell on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar) initiated the February Revolution.

Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Vladimir Lenin to make it an official holiday in the Soviet Union, and it was established, but was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women's Day was declared a non-working day in the USSR "in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples, and the struggle for peace. But still, women's day must be celebrated as are other holidays."

From its official adoption in Russia following the Soviet Revolution in 1917 the holiday was predominantly celebrated in communist and socialist countries. It was celebrated by the communists in China from 1922, and by Spanish communists from 1936. After the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949 the state council proclaimed on December 23 that March 8 would be made an official holiday with women in China given a half-day off.

In the West, International Women's Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8th as the UN Day for women's rights and world peace.

Link to comment

March’s Second Sunday – Daylight Saving Time Begins
Set Your Clocks Forward One Hour

 

Traditionally Daylight Saving Time starts the first Sunday in April and ends the last Sunday in October. Most of Mexico follows these dates that were established in 1987 and adopted by the US, Mexico, and many other nations.

In 2007 the United States revised the 1987 schedule so that in the United States Daylight Saving Time begins the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November. For years the different Daylight Saving Time dates caused confusion for many living in the United States-Mexico border area.

In 2011 Mexican border cities--including Tijuana--started following the current United States Daylight Saving Time schedule in which clocks are set forward one hour the second Sunday in March.

Those with Mexican cell phones should be aware the time displayed on their cell phone between the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in April may be in error by being one hour behind the time in the California and Baja California. The time displayed on their cell phone may reflect the time in the majority of Mexico based on the traditional dates for Daylight Saving Time.

 

History of Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is a change in the standard time with the purpose of getting better use of the daylight by having the sun rise one hour later in the morning and set one hour later in the evening. Although it has only been United States in the past hundred years, the idea of Daylight Saving Time was first conceived many years before.

Daylight Saving Time has been a subject of recurring debate in the United States, the United Kingdom, and many other countries around the world for about a hundred years. Ancient civilizations were known to practice a similar process of the concept of Daylight Saving Time where they would use their daily schedules in accordance to the sun, such as the Roman water clocks that United States different scales for different months of the year.

The idea of daylight saving time was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 during his stay in Paris. He published an essay titled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” that proposed to economize the United States of candles by rising earlier to make use of the morning sunlight.

Although many believe that Benjamin Franklin invented Daylight Saving Time, some say that modern Daylight Saving Time was first proposed in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand. Hudson presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society that proposed a two-hour shift forward in October and a two-hour shift back in March. He followed up his proposal with an article in 1898, and although there was interest in the idea, it was never followed through.

The invention of Daylight Saving Time was mainly credited to William Willett in 1905 when he came up with the idea of moving the clocks forward in the summer to take advantage of the daylight in the mornings and the lighter evenings. His proposal suggested moving the clocks 20 minutes forward each of four Sundays in April, and switching them back by the same amount on four Sundays in September.

Willett’s daylight saving plan caught the attention of Robert Pearce who introduced a bill to the United Kingdom’s House of Commons in February 1908. The first Daylight Saving Bill was drafted in 1909 and presented to Parliament several times and examined by a select committee. However, the bill was opposed by many, especially farmers and the bill was never made into a law. Willett died in 1915 without getting the chance to see his idea come to life.

Daylight Saving Time was first adopted to replace artificial lighting so they could save fuel for the war effort in Germany during World War I at 11:00pm (23:00) on April 30, 1916. It was quickly followed by Britain and many countries from both sides, including the United States. Many countries reverted back to standard time post-World War I, and it wasn’t until the next World War that Daylight Saving Time would make its return to many countries in order to save vital energy resources for the war.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time in the United States, called “War Time” during World War II from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945. The law was enforced 40 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and during this time, time zones were called “Eastern War Time”, “Central War Time”, and “Pacific War Time”. After the surrender of Japan in mid-August 1945, the time zones were relabeled “Peace Time.”

Daylight saving was first recognized as an energy saving aspect during World War II when Double Summer Time was applied in Britain which moved the clocks two hours ahead of GMT during the summer and one hour ahead of GMT during the winter.

Daylight Saving Time United States widespread created confusion from 1945 to 1966 for trains, buses and the broadcasting in the Unites States because many states and localities were free to choose when and if they would observe Daylight Saving Time. Congress decided to end the confusion and establish the Uniform Time Act of 1966 that stated Daylight Saving Time would begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. However, states still had the ability to be exempt from Daylight Saving Time by passing a local ordinance.

The United States Congress extended Daylight Saving Time to a period of ten months in 1974 and eight months in 1975, in hopes to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo. The trial period showed that Daylight Saving Time saved the equivalent in energy of 10,000 barrels of oil each day, but Daylight Saving Time still proved to be controversial. Many complained that the dark winter mornings endangered the lives of children going to school. After the energy crisis was over in 1976, the Unites States changed their Daylight Saving Time schedule again to begin on the last Sunday in April. Daylight Saving Time was amended again to begin on the first Sunday in April in 1987. Further changes were made after the introduction of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Daylight saving time is now implemented in over seventy countries worldwide and affects over a billion people each year. Although many countries observe Daylight Saving Time, the beginning and end dates are often different than the United States. The European Union adopted the summer time period that was United States in the United Kingdom for many years which begins on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.

The Daylight Saving Time schedule in the United States was revised several times throughout the years, in which the Daylight Saving Time schedule period lasted for about seven months from 1987 to 2006. The current schedule began in 2007 and follows the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the period by about one month where Daylight Saving Time starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. Currently, most of the United States observes Daylight Saving Time except for Hawaii and most of Arizona, and the United States insular areas of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam.

Link to comment

March 17th - Saint Patrick's Day (Día de San Patricio)

 

In both Mexico and the United States Saint Patrick's Day (Día de San Patricio) is a civic, not a statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and businesses are open as usual.

Saint Patrick's Day was first publicly celebrated in Boston in 1737 where a large population of Irish immigrants resided. Nearly 200 years later, the first Saint Patrick's Day parade in the Irish Free State was held in Dublin in 1931. During the mid 1990's, the Irish government also began a campaign to promote tourism in Ireland on March 17th.

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in both the United States and Mexico on March 17th. Many Mexicans are aware of Saint Patrick and some of the associated Irish customs and folklore, such as Leprechauns. However, in Mexico Saint Patrick's Day is not a day to celebrate all things Irish with drinking and partying as it is in the United States.

That is not to say that one cannot find Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in Mexico, especially in places with tourists and immigrants. In Tijuana, for example, there have been years where the bars have served green beer on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Saint Patrick's Day is one of two days when Mexico honors the valiant service of the Saint Patricks Battalion, primarily Irish soldiers who had deserted from the United States army and fought in the Mexican army against the United States during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. The other day that Mexico honors the Saint Patrick's Battalion is September 12th, the date when captured members of the Saint Patricks Battalion were executed for desertion from the United States Army.

Mexican children born on March 17th are often named Patricio or Patricia (the Spanish equivalent of Patrick or Patricia) in honor of Saint Patrick. And the Saint Patrick's Battalion.

 

Celebrating Saint Patrick's Day in Tijuana

Although there have been years where Zona Nortre bars did things like serve green beer, most years Saint Patrick’s Day is not celebrated in the Zona.  (I typically host something in my TJ home and Saint Patrick’s Day is a time my friends and I enjoy.)  
 
If you are looking to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in Tijuana then check out the following places which in years past have hosted major Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations:

  • Pub de la Chapu on Calle Sonora in Chapultepec.
  • Celtics is across the street in the Plaza Chapultepec.
  • Dublin's which is a few blocks away headed towards the Grand Hotel.
  • The Red Lion Irish Pub on Paseo de los Hereos.

 

Saint Patrick's Day Traditions

In the United States, St. Patrick's Day is a holiday known for parades, shamrocks and all things Irish. From leprechauns to the color green, find out how symbols we now associate with St. Patricks Day came to be, and learn about a few that are purely American invention.

 

Who was Saint Patrick (San Patricio)?

People all over the world celebrate on the 17th day of March in honor of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Some cities have parades, many revelers wear green, and many commemorate the day with traditional Irish fare for their meal. However, not everyone may know who St. Patrick was.

Born in Britain during the 4th century, Saint Patrick was kidnapped and enslaved by Irish raiders when he was a teenager. After six years he was able to escape after six years and fled to Britain where he became a priest.. e later chose to return to Ireland as a missionary, in order to help spread the teachings of Christianity to pagans. According to Irish folklore, he also used a shamrock to explain the Christian concept of Trinity to the Irish. In spite of continuous opposition from pagan leaders, he continued to evangelize for thirty years while baptizing newly converted Christians and establishing monasteries, churches, and schools. He died on March 17th and was canonized by the local church.

 

The Shamrock (El trébol)

The shamrock, which was also called the seamroy by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.

 

The Snake (La serpiente)

It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland.

In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The banishing of the snakes was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick's arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.

 

Irish Music (Música irlandesa)

Music is often associated with St. Patrick's Day and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs. After being conquered by the English, and forbidden to speak their own language, the Irish, like other oppressed peoples, turned to music to help them remember important events and hold on to their heritage and history. As it often stirred emotion and helped to galvanize people, music was outlawed by the English. During her reign, the English Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) even decreed that all artists and pipers were to be arrested and hanged on the spot.

 

Wearing Green (El uso de verde)

Ireland is sometimes called the Emerald Ile due to its extensive green vegetation. In the United States it is customary to wear something green on Saint Patrick's Day. It is also customary for those wearing green to pinch those who are not.

 

Corned Beef

Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick's Day to share a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage.

Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick's Day at the turn of the century.

Irish immigrants living on New York City's Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.

I have never found a Mexican who was familiar with corn beef (before eating it at my place) nor have I found it for sale in Mexico. Which makes translating it difficult. Canned corn beef is carne de res en conserva and carne de res curado is the best way I know to translate (cured) corn beef into Spanish. (Encurtido is pickled, marinado is marinated, and curado is cured. I am told that the corn beef eaten in the U.S. is cured, not pickled or marinated.)

 

Leprechauns (Los Duendes)

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is lobaircin, meaning small-bodied fellow.

Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.

According to legend the Leprechauns have a pot of gold at and the Leprechauns have to give it anyone who catches one of them. Consequently, according to legend, the Leprechauns are very good and hiding and it is very difficult to see one of them. Legend also says that the reflection of a Leprechauns pot of gold is what makes the rainbow.

 

The Saint Patrick's Battalion (El Batallón de San Patricio)

The Saint Patricks Battalion (El Batallón de San Patricio also called los San Patricios), which was formed and led by Jon Riley, was a unit of 175 to several hundred immigrants (accounts vary) and expatriates of European descent who fought as part of the Mexican Army against the United States in the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848.

Most of the Saint Patrick's Battalions members had deserted from the United States Army. Made up primarily of ethnic Irish and German Catholic immigrants, the battalion also included Canadians, English, French, Italians, Poles, Scots, Spaniards, Swiss, and native Mexicans, most of whom were Roman Catholics. Disenfranchised Americans were in the ranks, including escaped slaves from the American South.

The Mexican government offered incentives to foreigners who would enlist in its army granting them citizenship, paying higher wages than the United States Army and they offered generous land grants. Only a few members of the Saint Patrick's Battalion were actual United States citizens.

Members of the Battalion are known to have deserted from United States Army regiments including: the 1st Artillery, the 2nd Artillery, the 3rd Artillery, the 4th Artillery, the 2nd Dragoons, the 2nd Infantry, the 3rd Infantry, the 4th Infantry, the 5th Infantry, the 6th Infantry, the 7th Infantry and the 8th Infantry.

The Battalion served as an artillery unit for much of the war. Despite later being formally designated as infantry, it still retained artillery pieces throughout the conflict. In many ways, the battalion acted as the sole Mexican counter-balance to United States horse artillery.

As an infantry unit, the Patrick's Battalion soldiers continued to serve with valor and great distinction. Examples are given below.

Knowing that they were likely to face the death penalty if captured, the Saint Patricks Battalion soldiers are known to have threatened wavering Mexican troops with death by friendly fire at the Battle of Cerro Gordo if they retreated. When the Patrick's Battalion soldiers were too-heavily engaged to carry out their threat, the Mexican troops broke and ran, leaving the Patrick's Battalion soldiers as they fought United States troops in hand-to-hand combat.

The Battle of Churubusco (August 20, 1847) took place two days after the defeat at Cerro Gordo. General Santa Anna gave a verbal order to preserve the point at all risk. The the Patrick's Battalion members initially met the attackers outside the walls of the convent at tête-de-pont, which was about 500 yards from a fortified convent. A battery of three to five heavy cannons was used from this position to hold off the American advance along with support from Los Independencia Batallón and Los Bravos Batallón. Several United States charges towards the bridgehead were thrown off, with the San Patricio companies serving as an example to the supporting battalions. Unlike the Patrick's Battalion soldiers, most of whom were veterans (many having served in the armies of the United Kingdom and various German states), the supporting Mexican battalions were militia who were untested in battle.

A lack of ammunition led the Mexican soldiers in the trenches between the bridgehead and the convent to disband; without ammunition, they had no way to fight back. Santa Anna had ordered half of these soldiers to a different part of the battlefield. When the requested ammunition wagon finally arrived, the 9½ drachma cartridges were compatible with none but the Patricks Battalion companies Brown Bess muskets, and they made up only a fraction of the defending forces. Further hampering Mexican efforts, a stray spark from an artillery piece firing grape shot at the on-coming United States troops caused the just-arrived ammunition to explode and set fire to several men, including Captain OLeary and General Anaya. A withdrawal behind the walls of the Convento de Churubusco was called when the threat of being outflanked proved too great.

The Patrick's Battalion members used this battle as a chance to settle old scores with United States troops. The large number of United States officers they killed in the affair is generally considered as revenge because they engaged in no similar acts during the war.

Though hopelessly outnumbered and underequipped, the defenders repelled the attacking United States forces with heavy losses until their ammunition ran out and a Mexican officer raised the white flag of surrender. Officer Patrick Dalton of the Patrick's Battalion tore the white flag down, prompting General. Pedro Anaya to order his men to fight on, with their bare hands if necessary. American Private Ballentine reported that when the Mexicans attempted to raise the white flag two more times, members of the Patrick's Battalion shot and killed them. After brutal close-quarters fighting with bayonets and sabers through the halls and rooms inside the convent, United States Army Captain James M. Smith suggested a surrender after raising his white handkerchief. Following the United States victory, the Americans are said to have ventilat[ed] their vocabulary of Saxon expletives, not very courteously, on Riley and his beautiful disciples of Saint Patrick.

For Americans of the generation who fought in the Mexican-American War, the Patrick's Battalion members were considered traitors. For Mexicans of that generation, and generations to come, the Patrick's Battalion members were heroes who came to the aid of fellow Catholics in need.

The great majority of the Patrick's Battalion members were recent immigrants who had arrived at northeastern United States ports; part of the Irish Diasporas escaping the Irish Potato Famine and extremely poor economic conditions in Ireland, then part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The United States Army often recruited Irishmen and other immigrants into military service shortly or sometimes immediately on arrival, with promises of salaries and land after the war.

Some historians believe a primary motivation was shared religion with the Mexicans and sympathy for the Mexican cause, likely based on similarities between the situations in Mexico and Ireland. This hypothesis is based on evidence of the number of Irish Catholics in the Battalion, the letters of Jon Riley, and the field entries of senior officers. Another hypothesis is that the members of the Saint Patrick's Battalion had been unhappy with their treatment in the United States Army. Another theory some historians hold is that the the Patricks Battalion members were attracted by the valuable incentives offered by the Mexican government: higher wages and generous land grants. For poor people coming from famine conditions, economics was often an important incentive.

Mexican author José Raúl Conseco noted that many Irish lived in northern Texas, and were forced to move south due to regional insecurity. Early in the war they helped United States General Zachary Taylor attack the fort and supply depot in St. Isabel, now the city of Port Isabel, Texas.

Irish expatriates have a long tradition of serving in military forces of Catholic countries, for instance, serving with Spain in groups of young men known as the Flight of the Wild Geese in the 17th century. In addition, many Irish fought as soldiers in South American wars of independence.

The Patricks Battalion members captured by the United States Army were treated and punished as traitors for desertion in time of war. In addition, they had been responsible for some of the toughest fighting (and the heaviest casualties) that the United States Army faced. Seventy-two men were immediately charged with desertion by the United States Army; military law required death as the punishment for the crime of desertion during a time of war.

Those who survived the war generally disappeared from history. A handful are on record as having made use of the land claims promised them by the Mexican government.

The Patrick's Battalion members have continued to be honored and revered as heroes in Mexico. The the Patrick's Battalion is memorialized on two separate days; September 12th, the generally-accepted anniversary of the executions of those convicted by the United States Army of desertion at time of war, and March 17th, Saint Patrick's Day.

Numerous schools, churches and other landmarks in Mexico take their name from the battalion, including: Monterrey: The street in front of the Irish School is named Batallón de San Patricio (the Patrick's Battalion) Mexico City: The street in front of the Santa María de Churubusco convent was named Mártires Irlandeses (Irish Soldiers). There is also the costal town of San Patricio in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

The battalions name is written in gold letters in the chamber of Mexico's House of Representatives.

In 1997, Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo commemorated the 150th anniversary of the execution of the the Patricks Battalion members at a ceremony in Mexico City's San Jacinto Plaza. This is where the United States Army conducted the first 16 hangings after the men were convicted of desertion. Ireland and Mexico jointly issued commemorative postage stamps to mark the anniversary.

In 2004, at an official ceremony attended by numerous international dignitaries including directors Lance and Jason Hool, as well as several actors from the film One Man's Hero (1999), the Mexican government gave a commemorative statue to the Irish government in perpetual thanks for the bravery, honor, and sacrifice of the Saint Patrick's Battalion. The statue was erected in Clifden, Connemara, Ireland, where Jon Riley, the leader of the Patrick's Battalion, was born.

The battalion has inspired numerous responses: it is the name of a soccer team club Deportivo Chivas United Statess supporters association, was evoked in a Saint Patricks Day message from Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, and has been remembered as a symbol of international solidarity with Mexico. In honor of Jon Riley, on September 12th the Irish town of Clifden, the birth place of Jon Riley, flies the Mexican flag.

Traditionally most Irish Americans have distanced themselves from the Patrick's Battalion members. They have not wanted to be associated with deserters or thought to be disloyal.



Día de San Patricio Vocabulario
Ingles - Español
Saint Patrick = San Patricio
Saint Patrick’s Day = Día de San Patricio
Saint Patrick’s Battalion = El Batallón de San Patricio (los San Patricios)
Ireland = Irlanda
Irish = Irlandés
Emerald Isle = La isla esmeralda
England = Inglaterra
English (people) = Ingeles
Celts = Celtas
Gaelic = Gaélico
Leprechauns = Duendes
Shamrock = El trébol
Pinch (verb) = Pellizcar
Pinch (noun) = Pellizco
Rainbow = Arco iris
Pot of gold = Olla de oro
Geese = Gansos
Corned beef = Carne de res curado (similar a carne de res encurtido o carne de res marinado)
Canned corned beef = Carne de res en conserva
Cabbage = Repollo
Pickled = Encurtido
Marinated = Marinado

Link to comment

March 18th – Nationalization of the Petroleum Industry (Aniversario de la Expropiación Petrolera)


 

The Nationalization of the Oil Industry Day is a civic, not federal statutory holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices and businesses are open as usual. The Mexican flag is flown at full staff on March 18th to commemorate the Nationalization of the Oil Industry (la Expropiación Petrolera) in 1938.

The Mexican oil expropriation (expropiación petrolera)--also called the petroleum expropriation, petroleum nationalization, etc.--was the expropriation of all oil reserves, facilities, and foreign oil companies in Mexico on March 18, 1938, under President and General Lázaro Cárdenas.

 

The Nationalization of the Mexican Petroleum Industry

The Mexican oil expropriation (expropiación petrolera)--also called the petroleum expropriation, petroleum nationalization, etc.--was the expropriation of all oil reserves, facilities, and foreign oil companies in Mexico on March 18, 1938.

The March 18th holiday in remembrance of the Nationalization of the Petroleum Industry (Aniversario de la Expropiación Petrolera) is a civic, not federal statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a pay off with pay. Banks, schools, government offices and business are open as usual.


The History of the Nationalization of the Mexican Petroleum Industry
The nationalization of the Mexican petroleum industry took place when President and General Lázaro Cárdenas declared that all mineral and oil reserves found within Mexico belong to the government. It is one of the Fiestas Patrias of Mexico, celebrating the date when the President, General Lázaro Cárdenas, declared that all oil reserves found in Mexican soil belonged to the nation, following the principle stated in the Article 27 of the Constitution of 1917. This measure caused an international boycott of Mexican products in the following years, especially by the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

In 1924, after several failed strike efforts and break-ups by the Mexican Army, a strike began in Tampico against the refinery “El Aguila,” in which workers emerged triumphant and achieved recognition from the management for the labor union and reached a collective bargaining agreement.

In 1935, all companies in the business of extraction, processing, and exporting of oil in Mexico were foreign companies with foreign capital. These companies attempted to block the creation of labor unions and used legal and illegal tactics to do so. However, the creation of individual unions within each company was made possible, but work conditions differed from one another.

On August 16, 1935, the Petroleum Workers Union of Mexico (Sindicato de Trabajadores Petroleros de la República Mexicana) was formed and one of the first actions was the writing of a lengthy draft contract sent to the petroleum companies demanding a 40 hour work week, a complete paid salary in the event of virtually unlimited time off for personal or family sickness, and a claim to replace the distinct collective contracts governing labor relations. On November 3, 1936, the union demanded that the companies sign the collective agreement and summoned a strike in case their demands were not met. In the early days of June, the union sued the companies before the General Arbitration and Conciliation Board (Junta General de Conciliacion y Arbitraje). The aforementioned strike started on a limited basis on May 31st and fully burst open on June 9th.

The petroleum workers struggle was well regarded by the President and the population despite problems caused by the petroleum shortage. In July, as instructed by the arbitration board, a commission of financial experts was formed that investigated the petroleum companies finances, concluding that their profits easily permitted them to cover the demands of the workers. The companies, however, insisted the demands would cripple production and bankrupt them.

But, on December 8th, the companies hired other unemployed workers and had not responded to the arbitration board. On December 18, 1937, the board gave a verdict in favor of the union by means of a “laudo” (binding judgment in arbitration) which demanded that the companies fulfill the requirements of the petitions and pay 26 million pesos in lost salaries. The petroleum companies initiated a lawsuit on January 2, 1938 before the Mexican Supreme Court to protect their property from the labor union and arbitration board, which denied the request.

Consequently, the foreign companies rebelled against the imposed contract, and the maximum Judicial Authority responded by rendering a decision on March 1, giving the companies until March 7 to pay the 26 million pesos penalty.

On December 27, 1935, the Sindicato Único de Trabajadores Petroleros was created, despite the legal opposition in the states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz. On January 29, 1936, this union joined the Comité de Defensa Proletaria ("Committee of Proletarian Defense") which would become in February the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM). On July 20, the union celebrated its first convention, in which it was proposed a project of general contracts for each oil company and it was decided on a strike to push towards an agreement.

Lázaro Cárdenas intervened between the union and the oil companies in order to force an agreement on the contract. The strike was delayed for six months, but the companies never agreed to the contract and on May 28th, the strike took place. The entire country was paralyzed for 12 days, with consumers unable to buy gasoline. Cárdenas convinced the union to end the strike until a decision by the companies could be made. However, the companies declared themselves unable to meet the demands because of financial problems. Cárdenas ordered an investigation and on August 3rd, the findings were that the Mexican oil industry produced higher returns than the United States oil industry.

After the publication of the findings, the oil companies threatened to leave Mexico and take all of their capital with them. The government entity in charge of the conflict between these companies and the union, the Junta Federal de Conciliación y Arbitraje (Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board), was not able to make a decision quickly and the union declared a 24-hour strike in protest on December 8.

On December 18th, the Arbitration Board declared in favor of the union. The oil companies had to pay 26 million pesos of wages lost because of the strike, but they appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court then rejected the appeal and ordered them to raise salaries and improve working conditions for the union members.

The oil companies protested this decision and President Cárdenas mediated a compromise; the union would accept 26 million. Cárdenas offered to end the strike if the oil companies paid the sum. According to witnesses of this meeting, representatives of the oil companies asked the President "Who can guarantee that the strike will be over", to which the President replied "I, the President of the Republic." After the businessmen asked with sarcasm "You?" President Cárdenas ended the meeting saying "Sirs, we are finished!"

As a result, Cárdenas decided to expropriate the oil industry and create a national oil company.

On March 18, 1938 President Cárdenas began the expropriation of all oil resources and facilities, nationalizing the United States and Anglo-Dutch (Mexican Eagle Petroleum Company) operating companies. Two hours before informing his cabinet of his decision, he made the announcement on the radio to the rest of the country. Five days later, a crowd of 100,000 (according to the press) rallied in support of Cárdenas (see photo).

On April 12, 1938, a crowd of thousands of women gathered in front of the Palacio de Bellas Artes to make donations to pay the debt to foreign companies. Donations varied from chickens to jewelry, since the women encompassed all social classes.

On June 7, 1938, President Cárdenas issued a decree creating Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), with exclusive rights over exploration, extraction, refining, and commercialization of oil in Mexico. On June 20, 1938 PEMEX started operations.

In retaliation, the oil companies initiated a public relations campaign against Mexico, urging people to stop buying Mexican goods, and lobbying to embargo United States technology to Mexico. Many foreign governments closed their markets to Mexican oil, hoping that PEMEX would drown in its own oil. Between 1938 and 1939, PEMEX survived by trading oil for money and machinery to European countries with fascist governments. In spite of the boycott, PEMEX developed into one of the largest oil companies in the world and helped Mexico become the world's fifth largest oil exporter.

During World War II, American and British governments blocked Mexican oil exports to their allies and dependencies. The United States stopped buying Mexican silver for the Treasury.

Saturnino Cedillo, a cacique from San Luis Potosí and former Secretary of Agriculture, showed the strongest opposition to Cárdenas's measures. Cedillo had in the past supported Cárdenas in a conflict with ex-President Plutarco Elías Calles, but disagreed with his plan of reforms. On May 15 of the same year, the state congress of San Luis Potosí issued a decree where it refused to recognize Cárdenas as President and declared that the expropiación petrolera did not benefit the economy of Mexico. Cárdenas did not consider this a serious threat and minimized efforts to suppress the rebellion, instead choosing persuasion. The United States government did not support the rebellion because it was more concerned that fascist and communist movements from Europe would spread to Mexico.

The key to the success of the measures taken by Cárdenas was not just to control the opposition, but to keep afloat an industry in the absence of qualified personnel. The government had to depend on the Sindicato de Trabajadores Petroleros de la República Mexicana (STPRM, or the Union of Oil Workers of the Mexican Republic) to resolve disagreements over the management of oil resources, and deal with threats of strikes and sabotage. In spite of these and technical challenges, local workers who replaced the foreign technicians were successful in making the new nationalized oil industry work. Josephus Daniels, United States ambassador to Mexico, explained to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull that Cárdenas' reforms could not be undone, since his position as president and the position of PEMEX were secure.

Critics of the expropriation point out that since Pemex took control of the nation's petroleum, the company has been rife with corruption through every administration since that of Cárdenas, including both the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, in English the Institutional Revolutionary Party) and the PAN (Partido Accion Nacional) in English the National Action Paryt). A recent book, Camisas Azules, Manos Negras (in English the Blue Shirts, Black Hands), details the massive corruption that continues to this day.

Link to comment

March’s Third Monday – Benito Juarez’s Birthday (Natalicio de Benito Juárez)

Benito Juarez’s Birthday (Natalicio de Benito Juárez) is a Mexican federal statutory holiday. Employees are entitled to a day off with pay plus overtime pay if they are required to work on the holiday. Banks, schools, government offices, and many businesses close for the holiday. The Mexican flag is flown at full staff on Benito Juarez’s Birthday in the manner provided for under the Ley sobre el Escudo, Bandera y el Himno Nacionales (Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem).

Prior to 2006 Benito Juarez’s Birthday was celebrated on March 21st. Thereafter, to create a three-day weekend, it has been (officially) celebrated on the third Monday in March.

 

Benito Juárez’s Legacy

Benito Juárez, born on March 21, 1806, was a Mexican attorney and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim president, and presidential terms of 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872. He resisted the French occupation, fought to overthrow Maximilian I who Napoleon III was instrumental in making Emperor of Mexico, restored the Republic, and used liberal reforms to modernize the country. Juárez’s reforms were the triumph of Mexico's liberal, federalist, anti-clerical, and pro-capitalist forces over the conservative, centralist, corporatist, and theocratic elements of the old colonial system.

Benito Juárez is the only person of indigenous origins to have served as president of Mexico. Manuel Hidalgo started the revolution that result in Mexico’s independence from Spain. However, following independence Mexico was ruled by those of pure Spanish blood born in Mexico (often termed Creoles). The reforms of Benito Juárez opened many doors for Mestizo (those of mixed Spanish and Indian blood) and those of indigenous (Indian) blood to become the legal equals of the Creoles and well as furthering their economic prospects. His impact on Mexican society is probably greater than that of any other Mexican president. It is not improper to see him as a second George Washington in Mexican history as his reforms so transformed Mexico that in essence it became a different country.

 

Benito Juárez

Benito Pablo Juárez García (1806–1872) was born on March 21, 1806 in a small adobe home in the village of San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca, located in the mountain range now known as the "Sierra Juárez". His parents, Marcelino Juárez and Brígida García, were indigenous (Indian) peasants who both died of complications of diabetes when he was three years old. Shortly thereafter, his grandparents died as well, and his uncle then raised him. He described his parents as "indios de la raza primitiva del país," that is, "Indians of the original race of the country." He worked in the corn fields and as a shepherd until the age of twelve, when he walked to the city of Oaxaca de Juárez to attend school. At the time, he was illiterate and could not speak Spanish, only Zapotec.

In the city, where his sister worked as a cook, he took a job as a domestic servant for Antonio Maza. A lay Franciscan, Antonio Salanueva, was impressed with young Benito's intelligence and thirst for learning, and arranged for his placement at the city's seminary. In 1843 Benito married Margarita Maza.

Juárez became a lawyer in 1834 and a judge in 1841. He was governor of the state of Oaxaca from 1847 to 1852. In 1853, he went into exile because of his objections to the corrupt military dictatorship of Antonio López de Santa Anna. He spent his exile in New Orleans, Louisiana, working in a cigar factory. In 1854 he helped draft the Plan of Ayutla as the basis for a liberal revolution in Mexico.

Faced with growing opposition, Santa Anna resigned in 1855 and Juárez returned to Mexico. The winning party, the liberals (liberals), formed a provisional government under General Juan Álvarez, inaugurating the period known as the Reform (La Reforma). The Reform laws sponsored by the pure (puro) wing of the Liberal Party curtailed the power of the Catholic Church and the military, while trying to create a modern civil society and capitalist economy based on the United States model. Juárez's Law (Ley Juárez) of 1855, declared all citizens equal before the law, and severely restricted the privileges of the Catholic Church. All the reform efforts ended on the writing of the new federalist constitution. Juárez became Chief Justice, under moderate (moderado) president Ignacio Comonfort.

The conservatives led by General Félix Zuloaga, with the backing of the military and the clergy, launched a revolt under the Plan of Tacubaya on December 17, 1857. Comonfort did not want to start a bloody civil war, so made an auto-coup d'état, dissolved the congress and appointed a new cabinet, in which the conservative party would have some influence, assuming in real terms the Tacubaya plan. Juárez, Ignacio Olvera, and many other deputies and ministers were arrested. The rebels wanted the constitution revoked completely and another all-conservative government formed, so they launched another revolt on January 11, 1858, proclaiming Zuloaga as president. Comonfort re-established the congress, freeing all the prisoners and resigned as president. Under the new constitution, the chief justice immediately became interim president until proper elections could be held. Juárez took office in late January 1858. Juárez then led the liberal side in the Mexican War of the Reform, first from Querétaro and later from Veracruz. In 1859, Juárez took the radical step of declaring the confiscation of church properties. In spite of the conservatives' initial military advantage, the liberals drew on support of regionalist forces. They had United States help under some terms of the controversial and never approved McLane–Ocampo Treaty. This turned the tide in 1860; the liberals recaptured Mexico City in January 1861. Juárez was elected president in March for another four-year term, under the Constitution of 1857.

Juárez stopped making Mexico’s foreign debt payments to Spain, Great Britain and France. Spain, Great Britain, and France reacted with a joint seizure of the Veracruz customs house in December 1861. Spain and Britain soon withdrew after realizing that the French Emperor Napoleon III used the episode as a pretext to launch the French intervention in Mexico in 1862, with plans to establish a conservative regime in which Maximilian I was installed as Emperor of Mexico.

The Mexicans won an initial victory over the French at Puebla in 1862, celebrated annually as Cinco de Mayo (May 5th). The French advanced again in 1863, forcing Juárez and his elected government to retreat to the north, first to San Luis Potosí, then to the arid northern city of El Paso del Norte, present day Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and finally to the capital of the state, Chihuahua City, where he set up his cabinet and government-in-exile. There remained for the next two and a half years. Meanwhile Maximilian von Habsburg, a younger brother of the Emperor of Austria, was proclaimed Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico on April 10, 1864 with the backing of Napoleon III and a group of Mexican conservatives. Before Juárez fled, Congress granted him an emergency extension of his presidency, which would go into effect in 1865, when his term expired, and last until 1867 when the last of Maximilian's forces were defeated.

In response to the French intervention and the elevation of Maximilian, Juárez sent General Plácido Vega y Daza to the United States to gather Mexican American sympathy for Mexico's plight. Maximilian, who personally harbored liberal and Mexican nationalist sympathies, offered Juárez amnesty, and later the post of prime minister, but Juárez refused to accept either a government "imposed by foreigners", or a monarchy. A monarchy, founded by Emperor Augustine I, was Mexico’s first form of government after Mexico independence achieved it independence from Spain in 1821. The monarchy was abolished only a year later, during a domestic crisis. When the United States Civil war ended, United States President Andrew Johnson invoked the Monroe Doctrine to give diplomatic recognition to Juárez' government and supply weapons and funding to the Mexican Republican forces. When Andrew Johnson was unable to obtain support in Congress, he supposedly had the Army "lose" some supplies (including rifles) "near" (across) the border with Mexico. He would not even meet with representatives of Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico.

United States General Philip Sheridan was sent to take command of the United States military forces in Texas. He wrote in his journal about how he "misplaced" about 30,000 muskets close to Mexico. The United States informed France that the presence of French troops in Mexico was a matter of grave concern. Faced about 50,000 veteran United States troops on its border under the command of a very competent general and with a growing threat from Prussia, the French troops began pulling out of Mexico in late 1866.

Mexican conservatism was a spent force and was less than pleased with the liberal Maximilian. In 1867 the last of the Emperor's forces were defeated and Maximilian was sentenced to death by a military court. Despite national and international pleas for amnesty, Juárez refused to commute the sentence, and Maximilian was executed by firing squad on June 19, 1867 at Cerro de las Campanas in Querétaro. (Maximilian paid the firing squad in gold coins not to shoot him in the face so his mother could see his body. They took his money, but broke their promise by shooting him in the face.) His body was returned to Europe for burial. His last words had been, '¡Viva México!'

Juárez was controversially re-elected President in 1867 and 1871, using the office of the presidency to ensure electoral success and suppressing revolts by opponents such as Porfirio Díaz. Benito Juárez died of a heart attack in 1872. He was succeeded by Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, his foreign minister.

Today Benito Juárez is remembered as being a progressive reformer dedicated to democracy, equal rights for his nation's indigenous peoples, his antipathy toward organized religion, especially the Catholic Church, and what he regarded as defense of national sovereignty. The period of his leadership is known in Mexican history as The Reform of the North (La Reforma del Norte), and constituted a liberal political and social revolution with major institutional consequences: the expropriation of church lands, bringing the army under civilian control, liquidation of peasant communal land holdings, the separation of church and state in public affairs, and also led to the almost-complete disenfranchisement of bishops, priests, nuns and lay brothers.

The Reform (La Reforma) represented the triumph of Mexico's liberal, federalist, anti-clerical, and pro-capitalist forces over the conservative, centralist, corporatist, and theocratic elements that sought to reconstitute a locally-run version of the old colonial system. It replaced a semi-feudal social system with a more market-driven one, but following Juárez's death, the lack of adequate democratic and institutional stability soon led to a return to centralized autocracy and economic exploitation under the regime of Porfirio Díaz. The Porfirist (Porfiriato) era, in turn, collapsed at the beginning of the Mexican Revolution 1910. (which is covered in greater detail in the section regarding the November 20th Día de la Revolución holiday.)

Link to comment

March 21st (or thereabouts) – Spring Equinox & First Day of Spring (Primavera)

The Spring equinox, which signals the first day of Spring, usually falls on the 20th or 21st of March. The dates for the Spring Equinox may vary slightly from year to year for reasons explained below.

The first day of Spring is a cultural, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and businesses are open as usual.

In some places in Mexico there are spring festivals, (festivales de primavera), that take place to celebrate the beginning of spring. Children's parades are also popular and if you are in Mexico on or around the date of the Spring equinox you may see children on parade dressed up as flowers and animals.

The Mayan archaeological site of Chichen Itza is the most popular spot in Mexico to celebrate the Spring equinox. The site's most famous building, The Kulkulkan temple, is the site of a dramatic display of Mayan astronomical knowledge. Every year on the autumn and Spring equinoxes the light of the sun makes a play of light and shadow which makes it look like a serpent is slithering along the steps of the pyramid. The effect begins in the late afternoon, around 4 pm, and lasts for an hour or so. The serpent appears for a few days - from around March 19th to the 23rd, but on the actual date of the equinox the effect is most obvious.

The archaeological site of Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, is also a favorite spot to celebrate the spring Equinox. On this date hundreds of thousands of visitors visit the site, many dressed all in white. They climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun where they perform rituals and stretch out their arms to receive the special energy they believe is present on that day.

Some send flowers to a pretty señorita on this day. Otherwise the first day of spring pretty much goes unobserved by the majority of the people.

 

What is the Equinox

On the equinox the sun is positioned directly over the equator. The word "equinox" means "equal night" because on the equinox the night was at one time thought to be equal in length to the day. There are two equinoxes during the year, the Spring equinox, sometimes called "vernal equinox," which falls around March 21st and the autumn equinox which falls around September 23rd. The day of the Spring equinox marks the end of winter and beginning of spring.

If you were standing on the equator during either the vernal or autumnal equinox, you would see the sun pass directly overhead, the only two times in the year when that is true.

The two equinoxes are also the only times during the year when the sun rises due east and sets due west.

In spring, the Earth’s axis is tilted toward the sun, increasing the number of daylight hours and bringing warmer weather that causes plants to bring forth new growth.

There is a persistent myth that at the vernal equinox, and only at the vernal equinox, you can stand a raw egg on its end. There is an equally persistent rebuttal that says it is not possible at any time to balance a raw egg on its end. Neither assertion is true. With a little patience (or sometimes a lot), you can balance a raw egg on its end at any time of year. The first day of spring has nothing to do with it.

 

Why Seasonal Dates Vary

There are a few reasons why seasonal dates can vary from year to year.

A year is not an even number of days and neither are the seasons. To try and achieve a value as close as possible to the exact length of the year, our Gregorian Calendar was constructed to give a close approximation to the tropical year which is the actual length of time it takes for the Earth to complete one orbit around the Sun. It eliminates leap days in century years not evenly divisible by 400, such 1700, 1800, and 2100, and millennium years that are divisible by 4,000, such as 8000 and 12000.

Another reason is that the Earth's elliptical orbit is changing its orientation relative to the Sun (it skews), which causes the Earth's axis to constantly point in a different direction, called precession. Since the seasons are defined as beginning at strict 90-degree intervals, these positional changes affect the time Earth reaches each 90-degree location in its orbit around the Sun.

The pull of gravity from the other planets also affects the location of the Earth in its orbit.

The current seasonal lengths for the Northern Hemisphere are:

Winter = 88.994 day
Spring = 92.758 days
Summer = 93.651 days
Autumn = 89.842 days

As you can see, the warm seasons--spring and summer combined--are 7.573 days longer than the colder seasons: fall and winter.

However, spring is currently being reduced by approximately one minute per year and winter by about one-half minute per year. Summer is gaining the minute lost from spring, and autumn is gaining the half-minute lost from winter. Winter is the shortest astronomical season, and with its seasonal duration continuing to decrease, it is expected to attain its minimum value, 88.71 days, by about the year 3500.

Another complication revolving around the vernal equinox concerns the length of day versus night. We have been taught that on the first days of spring and autumn, the day and night are equal to exactly 12 hours all over the world. Yet, if you check the calculations made by the United States Naval Observatory or the sunrise/sunset tables in any reputable almanac, you will find that this is not so. In fact, on the days of the Spring and Fall equinox the length of daylight is actually longer than darkness by several minutes.

Link to comment

Easter Holidays – Semana Santa and Semana Pascua

Sometime Between March 15 and April 25

Easter holidays are religious celebrations, not federal statutory holidays. Employees do not receive time off (with or without pay) except that banks, schools, government offices and businesses may close early or all day for Good Friday. Banks, schools, government offices, and many businesses are, of course, closed on Easter because it falls on a Sunday. Otherwise Banks, schools, government offices, and business are open as usual during the Samanas Santas (the week before and after Easter). However, many people take some time off during the weeks before and after Easter; thus the weeks before and after Easter is a time when not much gets done in Mexico.

 

Easter Holidays

Ash Wednesday (Miércoles de Ceniza) is the seventh Wednesday before Easter and the first day of Lent. On Ash Wednesday many Christians receive a mark of ashes on the forehead as a token of penitence and mortality.

Lent (Cuaresma) traditionally is the time from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday. It is observed by many Christians as a season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter. Some Christians (such as Catholics) are expected to give up something during Lent as penitence. Traditionally Lent was a period of 40 days, excluding Sundays, ending the Saturday preceding Easter. For Catholics Lent now ends the Thursday preceding Easter hence for Catholics Lent is now a period of 38 days, excluding Sundays.

Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) is the Sunday immediately proceeding Easter (Resurrection) Sunday.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is the week from Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) through Easter Saturday (Sábado Santo).

Semana Pascua (Easter Week) is the week from Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua) through the following Saturday.

Semanas Santas (Holy Weeks which are Semana Santa and Semana Pascua) the week before and after Eater.

Holy Thursday (Jueves Santo) is the day on which Lent now ends for Catholics.

Good Friday (Viernes Santo), the day Christ’s crucifixion is remembered, is the dominant holiday during the two Semanas Santas weeks.

Holy Saturday (Sábado Santo), the Saturday proceeding Easter, is (traditionally) the last day of Lent.

Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua), also called Resurrection Sunday, is the Sunday on which Christ’s resurrection is remembered.

 

When is Easter?

In Western Christianity, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. Easter is always the first Sunday following the first full moon that occurs on or after the ecclesiastical vernal equinox; the ecclesiastical vernal equinox is always on March 21st.

Link to comment

April 21st – The Heroic Defense of Veracruz (Heroica Defensa de Veracruz)

The April 21st holiday, honoring the defenders of Veracruz, is a civic, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices and businesses are open as usual. The Mexican flag is flown at full staff in commemoration of the Heroic Defense of Veracruz (Heroica Defensa de Veracruz).

April 21st is the day commemorating the 1914 United States occupation of the Mexican port of Veracruz. Lieutenant Jose Azueta is considered a Mexican hero for his actions during the battle. The son of Commodore Azueta, Lieutenant Azueta was wounded during the defense of the Naval Academy building. A cadet himself, José Azueta was manning a machine gun placed outside the building, facing the incoming American troops on his own and causing a number of casualties.

 

The United States Occupation of Veracruz

The United States occupation of Veracruz, which began with the Battle of Veracruz, lasted for six months and was a response to the Tampico Affair of April 9, 1914, where nine American sailors were arrested by the Mexican government for entering off-limit areas in Tampico, Tamaulipas arrested over a misunderstanding about fuel supplies. The incident came in the midst of poor diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States, related to the ongoing Mexican Revolution that had begun in 1910.

After the Tampico Affair (in which American sailors were arrested for entering an off-limits area in Tampicio) United States President Woodrow Wilson ordered the United States Navy to prepare for the occupation of the port of Veracruz. While waiting for authorization of Congress to carry out such action, Wilson was alerted of a German delivery of weapons for Victoriano Huerta due to arrive to the port on April 21. As a result, Wilson issued an immediate order to seize the port's customs office and confiscate the weaponry.

Huerta had taken power with the assistance of the United States ambassador Henry Lane Wilson during a coup d'état in early 1913 known as La decena trágica (the ten tragic days, which is covered in more detail in the section dealing with the Día de la Revolución (Revolution Day) holiday formerly celebrated on November 20th and now celebrated on the third Monday in November.). The Wilson administration's answer to the coup d'état was to declare Huerta a usurper of the legitimate government, embargo arms shipments to Huerta, and support the Constitutional Army of Venustiano Carranza.

This action by the United States in support of the Mexican Revolution that began in 1910 which is very popular with Mexicans today is viewed very negatively in Mexico to this day. But that is the way patriotism works—all over the world.

The arms shipment to Mexico, in fact, originated from the Remington Arms company in the United States. The arms and ammunition were to be shipped via Hamburg, Germany, to Mexico allowing Remington Arms a means of skirting the American arms embargo.

On the morning of April 21, 1914, warships of the United States Atlantic Fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher, began preparations for the seizure of the Veracruz waterfront. By 11:30, with whaleboats swung over the side, 502 United States Marines from the 2nd Advanced Base Regiment, 285 armed Navy sailors, known as "Bluejackets," from the battleship United States Florida and a provisional battalion composed of the Marine detachments of the Florida and her sister ship United States Utah began landing operations. Plowing through the surf in whaleboats toward pier 4, Veracruz's main wharf, a large crowd of Mexican and American citizens gathered to watch the spectacle. The invaders encountered no resistance as they exited the whaleboats, formed ranks into a Marine and a seaman regiment, and began marching toward their objectives.

This initial show of force was enough to prompt the retreat of the Mexican forces led by General Gustavo Maass. In the face of this, Commodore Manuel Azueta encouraged cadets of the Veracruz Naval Academy to take up the defense of the port for themselves. Also, about 50 line soldiers of the Mexican Army remained behind to fight the invaders along with the citizens of Veracruz.

The sailors were instructed to capture the customs house, post and telegraph offices, while the Marines were to capture the railroad terminal, roundhouse and yard, the cable office, and the power plant.

Soon arms were being distributed to the population, who were largely untrained in the use of Mausers and had trouble finding the correct ammunition. In short, the defense of the city by its populace was hindered by a lack of central organization and a lack of adequate supplies. The defense of the city also included the release of the prisoners held at the San Juan de Ulúa prison.

Although the landing had been nearly unopposed as United States forces marched into the city, Veracruz quickly became a battleground. Just after noon, fighting began with the 2nd Advance Base Regiment under Colonel Wendell C. Neville becoming heavily involved in a firefight in the rail yards. While the forces ashore slowly fought their way forward, Admiral Fletcher landed the United States Utah's 384 man bluejacket battalion, the only other unit at his disposal. By mid afternoon, the Americans had occupied all of their objectives and Admiral Fletcher called a general halt to the advance, initially hoping that a cease-fire could be arranged. That hope rapidly faded as he could find no one to bargain with and all troops in the city were instructed to remain on the defensive pending the arrival of reinforcements.

On the night of the 21st, Fletcher decided that he had no choice but to expand the initial operation to include the entire city, not just the waterfront. Five additional United States battleships and two cruisers had reached Veracruz during the hours of darkness and they carried with them Major Smedley Butler and his Marine Battalion which had been rushed from Panama. The battleship's seaman battalions were quickly organized into a regiment 1,200 men strong, supported by the ship's Marine detachments providing an additional 300-man battalion. These newly arrived forces went ashore around midnight to await the morning's advance.

At 7:45 a.m., the advance began. The Leathernecks adapted to street fighting, which was a novelty to them. The sailors were less adroit at this style of fighting. A regiment led by Navy Captain E. A. Anderson advanced on the Naval Academy in parade ground formation, making his men easy targets for the cadets barricaded inside. This attack was repulsed with casualties, and the advance was only saved when three warships in the harbor, the United States ships Prairie, San Francisco, and Chester, pounded the Academy with their long guns for a few minutes, silencing all resistance and killing 15 of the cadets inside.

That afternoon, the First Advanced Base Regiment, originally bound for Tampico, Tamaulipas, came ashore under the command of Colonel John A. Lejeune and by 5:00 p.m., United States troops had secured the town square and were in complete control of Veracruz. Some pockets of resistance continued to occur around the port, mostly in the form of hit-and-run guerrilla tactics, but by April 24 all fighting had ceased. A third provisional regiment of Marines, assembled at Philadelphia, arrived on May 1 under the command of Colonel Littleton W. T. Waller, who assumed overall command of the Brigade, by that time numbering some 3,141 officers and men. By then, the sailors and Marines of the Fleet had returned to their ships and an Army Brigade had landed. Marines and soldiers continued to garrison the city until the United States withdrawal on November 23, which occurred after Argentina, Brazil and Chile (the most powerful and wealthy countries in South America) were able to settle the issues between the two nations.

The son of Commodore Azueta, Lieutenant José Azueta, was wounded during the defense of the Naval Academy building. A cadet himself, José Azueta was manning a machine gun placed outside the building, facing the incoming American troops on his own and causing a number of casualties. José Azueta was rescued from the battlefield after sustaining two bullet wounds and taken to his home. After the battle, Admiral Fletcher heard of Azueta's actions in battle and sent his personal doctor to take care of him. However, Azueta refused medical services offered by the occupation army and only allowed local Dr. Rafael Cuervo Xicoy to examine him. Dr. Xicoy lacked medical supplies to assist Azueta properly. Azueta died of his wounds on May 10, Mexico's Mother's Day. During his funeral hundreds of citizens marched holding his coffin on their shoulders to the city's cemetery in open defiance of directives from the occupation army forbidding the right of assembly.

United States casualties were 22 killed 70 wounded. Mexican casualties are usually estimated at 52 to172 killed and 195 to 250 wounded.

United States Army Brigadier General Frederick Funston was placed in control of the administration of the port. Assigned to his staff as an intelligence officer was a young Captain Douglas MacArthur. While Huerta and Carranza officially objected to the occupation, neither was able to oppose it effectively, being more preoccupied by events of the Mexican Revolution. Huerta was eventually overthrown and Carranza's faction took power. The occupation, however, brought the two countries to the brink of war and worsened United States-Mexican relations for many years. The ABC Powers (Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, the most power South American nations) held the Niagara Falls peace conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, on May 20th to avoid an all-out war over this incident. A plan was formed in June for the United States troops to withdraw from Veracruz after General Huerta surrendered the reins of his government to a new regime and Mexico assured the United States that it would receive no indemnity for its losses in the recent chaotic events. Huerta soon afterwards left office and gave his government to Carranza. Carranza, who was still quite unhappy with United States troops occupying Veracruz, rejected the rest of the agreement. In November 1914, after the Convention of Aguascalientes ended and Carranza failed to resolve his differences with revolutionary generals Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, Carranza left office for a short period and handed control to Eulalio Gutiérrez Ortiz.

During this brief absence from power, however, Carranza still controlled two Mexican states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas. After leaving Mexico City, Carranza fled to the state of Veracruz, made the city of Cordoba the capital of his regime, and agreed to accept the rest of the terms of Niagara Falls peace plan. The United States troops officially departed on November 23. Despite their previous spat, diplomatic ties between the United States and the Carranza regime greatly extended, following the departure of United States troops from Veracruz, and the two nations were now on friendly terms.

After the fighting ended, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels ordered that fifty-six Medals of Honor be awarded to participants in this action, the most for any single action before or since. This amount was half as many as had been awarded for the Spanish-American War, and close to half the number that would be awarded during World War I and the Korean War. A critic claimed that the excess medals were awarded by lot. Major Smedley Butler, a recipient of one of the nine Medals of Honor awarded to Marines, later tried to return it, being incensed at this "unutterable foul perversion of Our Country's greatest gift" and claiming he had done nothing heroic. The Department of the Navy told him to not only keep it, but wear it.

Lieutenant Azueta and a Naval Military School cadet, Cadet Midshipman Virgilio Uribe, who also died during the fighting, are now part of the list of honor read by all branches of the Mexican Armed Forces in all military occasions, alongside the six Niños Héroes of the Military College (today the Heroic Military Academy) who died in defense of the nation during the Battle of Chapultepec on September 13, 1846. As a result of the brave defense put up by the Naval School cadets and faculty, it has now become the Heroic Naval Military School of Mexico in their honor.

Link to comment

April’s Last Wednesday (usually) – Secretary's Day (Día de la Secretaria)

 

Secretary’s Day, also known as Administrative Professionals Day, is observed in North America on the last Wednesday of the last full week in April. In much of Europe it is celebrated on the third Thursday in April.

Secretary’s Day is not an official holiday, but a day of appreciation that recognizes secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists and other support staff. Secretary’s Day is celebrated all over the world and Secretary’s Day is the most popular holiday celebrated in offices. It is customary to give a gift on Secretary’s Day such as flowers, candy, and gift certificate for lunch, dinner, spa or other gestures of thanks.

In Mexico, as elsewhere, Secretary’s Day is a civic, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and businesses are open as usual.

 

Administrative Professionals Day

The idea of Secretary’s Day began with Mary Barrett, president of the National Secretaries Association, now called IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals), and C. King Woodbridge, president of Dictaphone Corporation. They served on a council addressing a national shortage of skilled office workers. Together with Harry Klemfuss, public relations account executive at Young & Rubicam, they originated the idea for a National Secretaries Week.

The official period of celebration was first proclaimed by United States Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer as "National Secretaries Week," which was held June 1–7 in 1952, with Wednesday, June 4, 1952 designated National Secretaries Day. The first Secretaries Day was sponsored by the National Secretaries Association with the support of corporate groups.

In 1955, the observance date of National Secretaries Week was moved to the last full week of April. The name was changed to Professional Secretaries Week in 1981, and became Administrative Professionals Week in 2000 to encompass the expanding responsibilities and wide-ranging job titles of administrative support staff. IAAP created National Secretaries Week (now Administrative Professionals Week) with two objectives in mind: to recognize "the secretary, upon whose skills, loyalty, and efficiency the functions of business and government offices depend," and to call attention "through favorable publicity, to the tremendous potential of the secretarial career."

Today, the title is changing and evolving, but the recognition is equally important. There are two new terms in use today. They are "Administrative Professionals" and "Executive Admins." The two names sometimes mean different roles and responsibilities to different companies. Both are broader terms that encompass more positions than the original secretary role.

The name change recognizes and acknowledges that the role has changed significantly since 1952. In Harry Klemfuss' day, these positions were the realm of women whereas today, you find some males in these positions.

Link to comment

April 30th – Children’s Day (Día del Niño)

 

The Day of the Child (Día del Niño) is a Mexican cultural, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and businesses are open as usual, although sometimes schools either close or hold a carnival celebrating Día del Niño.

Since 1925, El Día del Niño (The Day of the Child or Children’s Day) has grown as an annual celebration throughout Mexico. This day recognizes children, pays homage to their importance in society, and endorses their well being.

The Day of the Child (Día del Niño) is celebrated in Mexico on April 30th . There is no real counterpart to this holiday in the United States, which often leads Americans to underestimate the importance of the day in Mexican culture. Mexican parents try to make this day special for their children for the same reasons parents try to make birthdays special for their children.

Schools often celebrate El Día del Niño with what they call a carnival. It includes things like food, games, and dances. Sometimes teachers (and children) will wear festive clothing, such as traditional clothing associated with bailes folklóricos (traditional Mexican folk dances). School playgrounds are often decorated with streamers and balloons.

Parents often take children out to eat, have a party, or plan an activity their children will enjoy such as going to the park or a movie. In Mexico children (and their parents) look forward to El Día del Niño, after all what child doesn't enjoy a day at school without classes. (Those dating a Mexican woman with children are advised not to ignore this date.)

 

The History of El Día del Niño (Children's Day)

Children’s Day is celebrated to honor children on various days in many places throughout the world. International Children’s Day is celebrated on June 1st by many countries in the former Communist bloc. The United Nations sponsors November 20th as Universal Children’s Day. The Day of the Child is celebrated in Mexico on April 30th.

The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland proclaimed June 1st to be International Children's Day in 1925. It is not clear as to why June 1st was chosen as the International Children's Day, but one theory has it that the Chinese consul-general in San Francisco gathered a number of Chinese orphans to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival in 1925, which happened to be on June 1st that year, and also coincided with the conference in Geneva.

Universal Children's Day takes place on November 20th annually. First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children. November 20th is also the anniversary of the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was then signed on the same day in 1989, which has since been ratified by 191 states.

Mexico celebrates El Día del Niño (Day of the Child) on April 30th because in Mexico November 20th is the Día de la Revolucíon (Revolution Day). In Mexico the November 20th holiday celebrates the Mexican Revolution that began in 1910, which resulted in the overthrow of the rule of Portirio Díaz from 1876 to 1911 and the adoption of Mexico’s current constitution on February 5, 1917, marking the beginning of modern Mexico and leading to the formation of PRI party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional in English the Institutional Revolutionary Party) which was formed at the end of over a decade of sporadic outbreaks of civil unrest that followed the adoption of the 1917 Mexican Constitution.

Link to comment

May 1st – Labor Day (Día del Trabajo)

 

El Día del Trabajo (Labor Day) is a Mexican federal statutory holiday which is officially celebrated on May 1st .Employees are entitled to a day off with pay plus overtime compensation if they are required to work on the Día del Trabajo. Banks, schools, government offices, and many businesses will be closed. The Mexican flag is flown at full staff on the Día del Trabajo in the manner provided for under the Ley sobre el Escudo, Bandera y el Himno Nacionales (Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem). 

 

In many countries May 1st or May Day is celebrated as (International) Labor Day; May Day is a day of great importance to communist, socialist, and other liberal groups.In Mexico the Día del Trabajo (Labor Day) is often a time of political rallies and demonstrations. On one May Day, when Vicente Fox was president of Mexico, over 90,000 works showed up for a rally organized by union leaders to protest Mexican labor laws.

 

International Labor Day

Although it is not celebrated in the United States and Canada, May 1st in Mexico and much of the world is celebrated as International Labor Day and is often called May Day. Many of the events that resulted in the origin of this holiday occured in the United States.

The May 1st, International Labor Day origination was heavily influenced by two things. The first was the passing of a resolution of the Organized Trades and Labor Unions by the United States and Canada that established the 8 hour work day. The second event was the Haymarket riot on May 4th 1886 in Chicago.

In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions passed a resolution stating that eight hours would constitute a legal day’s work from and after May 1, 1886. The resolution called for a general strike (meaning a strike of all workers at all workplaces) to achieve the goal, since years of lobbying and legislative methods had already failed. By April 1886, 250,000 workers across the United States were involved in the May Day movement.

The heart of the movement was in Chicago, organized primarily by the anarchist International Working People’s Association which believed in ending of capitalism. The movement was based in the working class immigrant communities of the city, mainly among Germans, and was centered around a radical community that included daily and weekly newspapers in several languages, cultural clubs, youth groups, choirs, sports teams and especially labor unions.

Businesses and the government were alarmed by the increasingly radical character of the movement. and prepared accordingly. By May 1st, the movement had already won gains for many Chicago clothing cutters, shoemakers, and packing-house workers. Many participated in strikes and hundreds of thousands--estimated between 300,000 and 1 million--participated in marches on May 1, 1996.

On Monday, May 3, 1886, the first workday after the national eight-hour strike, a riot broke out at a labor protest held outside of Chicago's McCormick Reaper Works, where the striking workers of the McCormick factory had assembled to heckle the non-union workers or “scabs” brought in to replace them. The demonstration became increasingly violent the police intervened to protect the non-union workers. In suppressing the riot the police fired on the strikers killing six and wounding others. (Historians disagree on the exact number killed and wounded.)

On May 4, 1996 a rally of about 3000 members of the anarchist movement assembled to protest the actions of the police the preceding day at the McCromick Reaper Works Factory strike (or riot depending on one’s viewpoint). Initially the demonstration proceeded without incident, and by the time the last speaker was on the platform the rainy gathering was already breaking up, with only a few hundred people remaining. At that time a squad of about 180 police officers ordered the meeting to disperse. As the speakers left the platform, a bomb was thrown at the police, killing one and injuring seventy. Police responded by firing into the crowd, killing one worker and injuring others.

As result of what happened (described above) in 1886 May Day has become a major holiday with political overtones throughout the world, except in the United States and Canada. May Day is a day of great importance to communists, socialists, and other leftist groups as well as being a day on which they often hold political marches and rallies.

Link to comment

May 5th – Cinco de Mayo (The Fifth of May) & The Battle of Puebla

 

Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) is a civic, not Mexican federal statutory, holiday. However, in the State of Puebla Cinco de Mayo is a state statutory holiday. Thus in most of Mexico employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay) and banks, schools, government offices, and businesses are open as usual. The Mexican flag is flown at full staff on Cinco de Mayo in the manner provided for under the Ley sobre el Escudo, Bandera y el Himno Nacionales (Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem).

Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) is not, as many people think, Mexico’s Independence Day. Nor is the Día de la Revolucíon (Revolution Day) celebrated on November 20th Mexico’s Independence Day.

In Mexico the November 20th holiday celebrates the Mexico Revolution that began in 1910, which resulted in the overthrow of the rule of Portirio Díaz from 1876 to 1911 and the adoption of Mexico’s current constitution on February 5, 1917, marking the beginning of modern Mexico and leading to the formation of PRI party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional or Institutional Revolutionary Party) which was formed at the end of over a decade of sporadic outbreaks of civil unrest that followed the adoption of the 1917 Mexican constitution.

Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th. El Grito, the famous Cry of Independence, which began Mexico’s struggle for independence from Spain is repeated by the president of Mexico in a national ceremony each year at 11 pm on September 15th with Mexican independence celebrations lasting two days.

Cinco de Mayo is a regional holiday in the Mexican state of Puebla with a large celebration held in the state capital, which is the City of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated in any significant way in other parts of the Mexico, although it is celebrated in the United States, especially in cities having a large Mexican-American population.

The holiday of Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) commemorates the victory of the outnumbered Mexican forces over the French troops who supported Maximilian I, emperor during the Second Mexican Empire, at The Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The number of French reported killed ranged from 476 to 1,000, although many of the troops were already ill from their stay in the coastal lowlands. Mexican losses were reported to be eighty-six.

 

The Battle of Puebla on May 5th

General Ignacio Zaragoza, who commanded the victorious Mexican troops at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, was born in 1829 in Goliad, Texas when Texas was still part of Mexico. Zaragoza’s favorite son status among Mexican-Americans in Texas resulted in large Cinco de Mayo celebrations being held in Texas. These celebrations gradually spread thoughout other parts of United States until today Cinco de Mayo is more vigorously celebrated in the United States (especially in cities with large Mexican-American populations) than in most parts of Mexico.

The battle at Puebla in 1862 was fought at a violent and chaotic time in Mexico's history. Mexico had finally gained independence from Spain in 1821 after a difficult and bloody struggle. Subsequently a number of internal political takeovers and wars, including the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and the Mexican Civil War of 1858, had ruined the national economy.

During this chaotic period Mexico had accumulated heavy debts to several nations, including Spain, England and France, who were demanding repayment. Similar debt to the United States was previously settled after the Mexican-American War. France, under Napoleon III, was eager to add to its empire and used the debt issue to move forward with its goals of establishing control of Mexico. Realizing France’s intent of empire expansion, Spain and England withdrew their support. When Mexico, under President Benito Juárez, finally stopped making loan payments, France took action on its own to install Napoleon's relative, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, as emperor of Mexico.

France invaded at the gulf coast of Mexico along the state of Veracruz and began to march it forces toward Mexico City, a distance today of less than 600 miles. Although United States President Abraham Lincoln was sympathetic to Mexico's cause, the United States was involved in its own Civil War and was unable to provide any direct assistance. While unable to send armed forces to assist Mexico, Lincoln did manage to send arms to Mexico during its struggle against the French, for which he is honored in Mexico. For example, on the Paseo de los Hereos in the Zona Rio financial district of Tijuana there is a statue of Abraham Lincoln with broken chains in his hands. The chains do not represent the freeing of United States slaves, rather they represent the freeing of Mexico from French occupation under Maximilian made possible by the United States policy begun by Lincoln of providing Mexico with military aid in its struggle against the French forces of Maximilian.

Marching on toward Mexico City, the French army encountered strong resistance at the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. Lead by Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, a small, poorly armed militia estimated at 4,500 men were able to stop and defeat a well outfitted French army of 6,500 soldiers, which stopped the invasion of the country at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The victory was a glorious moment for Mexican patriots, which at the time helped to develop a needed sense of national unity, and is the cause for the historical date's celebration.

Unfortunately, the victory was short lived. Upon hearing of the defeat, Napoleon III sent more troops overseas to again invade Mexico, contrary to the wishes of the French populace. Some 30,000 more troops and a full year later, the French were eventually able to depose the Mexican army, take over Mexico City, and install Maximilian as Emperor of Mexico

Maximilian's rule of Mexico was short lived, lasting only from 1864 to 1867. When the American Civil War ended, the United States was able to provide more political and military assistance to Mexico. As soon as Lee surrendered, Grant--carrying out Lincoln's wishes--sent Phil Sheridan to Texas. It was not so much to fight against the Confederate forces under Kirby Smith as to put 50,000 troops under a capable general in a place that would threaten the French in Mexico. Secretary of State Steward then told the Mexican ambassador that French troops in Mexico were a matter of "great concern." The French took a hint and withdrew the bulk of their forces.

With the bulk of France’s support for Maximilian withdrawn, Mexican forces were able by 1867 to expel the French, after which Maximilian was executed by the Mexicans. Today his bullet riddled shirt is on display in the museum at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. So despite the eventual French invasion of Mexico City, Cinco de Mayo honors the bravery and victory of General Zaragoza's small, outnumbered forces at the Battle of Puebla which was fought on the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo) in 1862.

In Maximilian’s day he was hated by the vast majority of Mexicans. The hatred has dissipated over the years. Today he is often viewed by Mexicans (with justification) as a person who tried to help the poor who had no business being in Mexico.


The Popularity of Cinco de Mayo in the United States
The Cinco de Mayo holiday has many ties to United States history. Which include General Ignacio Zaragosa, the commander of the Mexican forces, being a native of what is now Texas

Mexicans and Latinos living in California during the American Civil War are credited with being the first to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States. According to a paper published by the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture about the origin of the observance of Cinco de Mayo in the United States, the modern American focus on that day first started in California in the 1860s in response to the resistance to French rule in Mexico.

In California what it symbolized, really, was that for the first time, basically since the Confederate guns that fired on Fort Sumter, finally the army of freedom and democracy had won against the army of slavery and elitism.

TIME magazine reports that Cinco de Mayo started to come into vogue in 1940s America

Members of the Chicano Movement resurrected interest in Cinco de Mayo in the 1960s and 1970s, as a celebration of cultural pride.

In the 1980s, as cash-strapped local groups tried to put on events tied to the holiday, they needed sponsors. Enter the liquor companies who are responsibility for the surge in popularity the Cinco de Mayo currently enjoys throughout the United States.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

May 8th – Miguel Hidalgo’s Birthday (El Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo)

 

Miguel Hidalgo’s May 8th birthday (El Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo) is a civic, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, and businesses will be open as usual. The Mexican flag is flown at full staff on Miguel Hidalgo’s Birthday in the manner provided for under the Ley sobre el Escudo, Bandera y el Himno Nacionales (Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem).

Miguel Hidalgo started Mexico’s war for independence from Spain on September 16, 1810, which was not achieved until September 27, 1821. Before that occurred Hidalgo was captured and executed by the Spanish colonial authorities. Like George Washington, Miguel Hidalgo is often seen as the father of his country.

 

Hidalgo’s Youth

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (May 8, 1753 – July 30, 1811) was the first child born to Don Cristóbal Hidalgo y Costilla and Doña Ana María Gallaga at the estate of San Diego Corralejo in the Pénjamo jurisdiction. Hidalgo was born a Criollo. (In Spanish-American history, the term Criollo signifies one of pure Spanish blood born, not in Spain, but in one of the Spanish colonies.) Under the system of the day, Hidalgo's rights as a Criollo were far less than those of someone born in Spain but better than a Mestizo, someone with a mixture of Spanish and Native American ancestry. Both of Hidalgo's parents were descended from well-respected families within the Criollo community. Hidalgo's father was a hacienda manager, which presented Hidalgo with the opportunity to learn at a young age to speak the indigenous languages of the laborers. Eight days after his birth Hidalgo was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith in the parish church of Cuitzeo de los Naranjos. Hidalgo's parents would have three other sons; José Joaquín, Manuel Mariano, and José María.

In 1759, when Hidalgo was six, Charles III of Spain ascended the throne; he soon sent out a visitor-general with the power to investigate and reform all parts of colonial government. Privileges previously withheld from Creoles were granted and some opportunities were accorded them for self-government, at least in the Ayuntamientos or municipal governing boards. They were for the first time since the Spanish conquest of Mexico admitted to the colleges and universities, and rendered eligible to careers at the bar, in the Church, and in the Government.

With the new opportunities available Don Cristobal was determined that Hidalgo and Joaquin should both enter the priesthood and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Being of significant means he paid for all of his sons to receive the best education the region had to offer. After receiving private instruction, likely from the priest of the neighboring parish, Hidalgo was ready for more formal education.

 

Hidalgo’s Education

At the age of twelve Hidalgo was sent to Valladolid (now Morelia), Michoacán to study at the Colegio de San Francisco Javier with the Jesuits, along with his brothers. When the Jesuits were expelled from Mexico in 1767, he entered the Colegio de San Nicolas. There he chose to study for the priesthood. He completed his preparatory education in 1770. After this, he went to the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico in Mexico City for further study, earning his degree in philosophy and theology in 1773. His education for the priesthood was traditional, with subjects in Latin, rhetoric and logic. Like many priests in Mexico, he learned some Indian languages, such as Nahuatl, Otomi, and Tarascan. Along with these he also studied Italian and French, which at the time were not commonly studied in Mexico. Hidalgo was considered cultured and clever, earning the nickname El Zorro (the fox) from those at his school. Hidalgo's study of French allowed him to read and study the thoughts and works of the Enlightenment that were current in Europe even though his knowledge was forbidden at the time in Mexico.

Hidalgo was ordained as a priest in 1778 when he was 25 years old. From 1779 to 1792, he dedicated himself to teaching at San Nicolas as a professor of Latin grammar and arts, then as a theology professor. Beginning in 1787, he was named treasurer, vice-rector and secretary, working his way up to becoming dean of the school in 1790 when he was thirty-nine. While he was dean, Hidalgo continued studying the liberal ideas that were coming from France and other parts of Europe. This, as well as his mismanagement of school funds, put him in conflict with his superiors, leading to his ouster. The Church sent him to work at the parishes of Colima and San Felipe Torres Mochas until he became the parish priest in Dolores, Guanajuato, succeeding his brother Felipe (also a priest), who died in 1802.

Although Hidalgo was educated as a priest in the traditional way, he did not advocate or live the life expected of 18th-century Mexican priests. Instead, his studies of Enlightenment caused him to challenge traditional political and religious views. He questioned the absolute authority of the Spanish king and challenged numerous ideas presented by the Church, including the absolute power of the Pope, the virgin birth, and clerical celibacy. He engaged in behavior regarded as outside the parameters of priests, including dancing and gambling. He openly lived with a woman named Maria Manuela Herrera, fathering two daughters out of wedlock with her, and later fathered three other children with a woman named Josefa Quintana.

This behavior resulted in his trial before the Court of the Inquisition, which, fortunately for him and the future of Mexico , did not find him guilty. Hidalgo was also egalitarian. As parish priest in both San Felipe and Dolores, he opened his house to Indians and Mestizos as well as Criollos.

 

The Parish Priest in Dolores

In 1803, at the age of fifty he arrived in Dolores accompanied by his family that included a younger brother, a cousin, two half sisters, as well as Maria and their two children. He obtained this parish in spite of his hearing before the Inquisition, which did not stop his secular practices.

After Hidalgo settled in Dolores, he turned over most of the clerical duties to one of his vicars, Father Francisco Iglesias, and devoted himself almost exclusively to commerce, intellectual pursuits and humanitarian activity. He spent much of his time studying literature, scientific works, grape cultivation, and the raising of silkworms. He used the knowledge that he gained to promote economic activities for the poor and rural people in his area. He established factories to make bricks and pottery and trained indigenous people in the making of leather. He also promoted beekeeping. He was interested in promoting activities of commercial value to use the natural resources of the area to help the poor. His goal was to make the Indians and Mestizos more self-reliant and less dependent on Spanish economic policies. However, these activities violated policies designed to protect Spanish peninsular agriculture and industry from competition with its colonies, and Hidalgo was ordered to stop them.

These policies, as well as exploitation of the lower classes, fostered resentment in Hidalgo of the Spain-born in Mexico. In addition to the restriction of economic activities in Mexico, Spanish mercantile practices would cause misery for the native peoples. A drought in 1807–1808 caused a famine in the Dolores area and rather than releasing stored grain to market, Spanish merchants chose instead to block its release, speculating on yet higher prices. Hidlago lobbied against these callous practices.

Fearing his arrest, Hidalgo commanded his brother Mauricio, as well as Allende and Abasolo, to go with a number of other armed men to make the sheriff release the inmates on the night of September 15th. They managed to set eighty free.

On the morning of September 16th, Hidalgo called Mass, which was attended by about 300 people, including hacienda owners, local politicians, and Spaniards. There he gave what is now known as the El Grito de Dolores (the Cry, or Shout, of Dolores), calling the people of his parish to leave their homes and join with him to struggle against the vice regal government.

Hidalgo's Grito did not condemn the notion of monarchy or criticize the current social order in detail, but his opposition to the events in Spain and the current vice regal government was clearly expressed in his reference to bad government. The Grito also emphasized loyalty to the Catholic religion, a sentiment with which both Creoles and Peninsulares could sympathize; however, the strong anti-Spanish cry of "Death to the Gachupines" (Gachupines was a name given to Peninsulares) probably caused horror among Mexico's elite.

 

Hidalgo's Army From Celaya to Monte de las Cruces

Hidalgo was met with an outpouring of support. Intellectuals, liberal priests, and many poor people followed Hidalgo with a great deal of enthusiasm. Hidalgo permitted Indians and Mestizos to join his war in such numbers that the original motives of the Querétaro group were obscured. Allende was Hidalgo's co-conspirator in Querétaro and remained more loyal to the Querétaro group's original, more Criollo objectives. However, Hidalgo's actions and the people's response meant that he, not Allende, would lead. Allende had acquired military training when Mexico established a colonial militia; Hidalgo had no military training at all. The people who followed Hidalgo also had no military training, experience, or equipment. Many of these people were poor who were angry after many years of hunger and oppression. Consequently, Hidalgo was the leader of undisciplined rebels.

Hidalgo's leadership would also give the insurgent movement a supernatural aspect. Many villagers that joined the insurgent army came to believe that Ferdinand VII himself commanded their loyalty to Hidalgo and the monarch was in New Spain personally directing the rebellion against his own government. They also believed that the king commanded the extermination of all peninsular Spaniards and the division of their property among the masses. Historian Eric Van Young believes that such ideas gave the movement supernatural and religious legitimacy that went as far as messianic expectation.

Hidalgo and Allende left Dolores with about 800 men, half of whom were on horseback. They marched through the Bajío area, through Atotonilco, San Miguel el Grande (now Allende), Chamucuero, Celaya, Salamanca, Irapuato and Silao, to Guanajuato. From Guanajuato, Hidalgo directed his troops to Valladolid, Michoacán. They remained here for a while and then decided to march towards Mexico City. From Valladolid, they marched through the State of Mexico, through the cities of Maravatio, Ixtlahuaca, Toluca coming as close to Mexico City as Monte de las Cruces, between the Valley of Toluca and the Valley of Mexico.

Just through sheer numbers, Hidalgo's army had some early victories. Hidalgo first went through the economically important and densely populated province of Guanajuato. One of Hidalgo's first stops was at the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Atotonilco. There Hidalgo affixed an image of the Virgin to a lance to adopt it as his banner. He then inscribed the following slogans to his troops’ flags: "Long live religion! Long live our most Holy Mother of Guadalupe! Long live Ferdinand VII! Long live America and death to bad government!” For the masses of insurgents, this Virgin represented an intense and highly localized religious sensibility. She was invoked to identify allies rather than to create ideological alliances or a sense of nationalism.

The extent and the intensity of the movement took vice regal authorities by surprise. San Miguel and Celaya were captured with little resistance. On September 21, 1810, Hidalgo was proclaimed general and supreme commander after arriving to Celaya. At this point, Hidalgo's army numbered about 5,000. However, because of the lack of military discipline, the insurgents soon fell into robbing, looting, and ransacking the towns they were capturing. They began to execute prisoners as well. This caused friction between Allende and Hidalgo as early as the capture of San Miguel in late September 1810. When a mob ran through this town, Allende tried to break up the violence by striking at the insurgents with the flat of his sword. This brought a rebuke from Hidalgo, accusing Allende of mistreating the people.

On 28 September 1810, Hidalgo arrived to the city of Guanajuato. The town's Spanish and Criollo populations took refuge in the heavily-fortified Alhóndiga de Granaditas granary defended by Quartermaster Riaños. The insurgents overwhelmed the defenses in two days and killed an estimated 400 to 600 men, women and children. Allende strongly protested these events and while Hidalgo agreed that they were heinous, he also stated that he understood the historical patterns that shaped such responses. The mass's violence as well as Hidalgo's inability or unwillingness to suppress it caused the Creoles and Peninsulares to ally against the insurgents out of fear. This also caused Hidalgo to lose support from liberal Creoles he might have otherwise have had.

From Guanajuato, Hidalgo set off for Valladolid on October, 10, 1810 with 15,000 men. When he arrived at Acámbaro, he was promoted to generalissimo and given the title of “His Most Serene Highness,” with power to legislate. With his new rank he had a blue uniform with a clerical collar and red lapels meticulously embroidered with silver and gold. This uniform also included a black baldric that was also embroidered with gold. There was also a large image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in gold on his chest.

Hildago and his forces took Valladolid with little opposition on October, 17, 1810. Here, Hidalgo issued proclamations against the Peninsulares, whom he accused of arrogance and despotism, as well as enslaving those in the Americas for almost 300 years. Hidalgo argued that the objective of the war was "to send the Gachupines back to the Motherland" because their greed and tyranny lead to the temporal and spiritual degradation of the Mexicans. Hidalgo forced the bishop of Valladolid, Manuel Abad y Queipo, to rescind the excommunication order he had circulated against him on September 24, 1810. Later, the Inquisition issued an excommunication edict on October 13, 1810 condemning Miguel Hidalgo as a seditionary, apostate, and heretic.

The insurgents stayed in the city for some days preparing to march to the capital of New Spain, Mexico City. The canon of the cathedral went unarmed to meet Hidalgo and got him to promise that the atrocities of San Miguel, Celaya and Guanajuato would not be repeated in Valladolid. The canon was partially effective. Wholesale destruction of the city was not repeated. However, Hidalgo was angry when he found the cathedral locked to him. So he jailed all the Spaniards, replaced city officials with his own, and looted the city treasury before marching off toward Mexico City. On October 19th Hidalgo left Valladolid for Mexico City after taking 400,000 pesos from the cathedral to pay expenses.

Hidalgo and his troops left the state of Michoacán and marched through the towns of Maravatio, Ixtlahuaca, and Toluca before stopping in the forested mountain area of Monte de las Cruces. Here, insurgent forces engaged Torcuato Trujillo's royalist forces. Hidalgo's troops made royalist troops retreat, but the insurgents suffered heavy casualties for their efforts like they did when they engaged trained royalist soldiers in Guanajuato

 

The Retreat from Mexico City

After the Battle of Monte de las Cruces on October 30, 1810, Hidalgo still had about 100,000 insurgents and was in a strategic position to attack Mexico City. Numerically, his forces outnumbered royalist forces.

The royalist government in Mexico City, under the leadership of Viceroy Francisco Venegas, prepared psychological and military defenses. An intensive propaganda campaign had advertised the insurgent violence in the Bajío area and stressed the insurgents' threat against social stability. Hidalgo found the sedentary Indians and castes of the Valley of Mexico as much opposed to the insurgents as were the Creoles and Spaniards.

Hidalgo's forces came as close as what is now the Cuajimalpa borough of Mexico City. Allende wanted to press forward and attack the capital, but Hidalgo disagreed. Hidalgo's reasoning for this decision is unclear and has been debated by historians. One probable factor was that Hidalgo's men were undisciplined and unruly and also suffered heavy losses whenever they encountered trained troop. As the capital was guarded by some of the best-trained soldiers in New Spain, Hidalgo might have feared a bloodbath. Hidalgo instead decided to turn away from Mexico City and move to the north through Toluca and Ixtlahuaca with a final destination of Guadalajara.

After turning back, insurgents began to desert. By the time he got to Aculco, just north of Toluca, his army had shrunk to 40,000. There, General Felix Calleja attacked Hidalgo's forces, defeating them on November 7, 1810. Allende decided to take the troops under his command to Guanajuato instead of Guadalajara.

Hidalgo arrived in Guadalajara on November 26th with over 7,000 badly-armed men. He initially occupied the city with lower-class support because Hidalgo promised to end slavery, tribute payment and taxes on alcohol and tobacco products. Hidalgo established an alternative government in Guadalajara with himself at the head and then appointed two ministers. On December 6, 1810, Hidalgo issued a decree abolishing slavery, threatening those who did not comply with death. He also abolished tribute payments that the Indians had to pay to their Criollo and Peninsular lords. He also ordered the publication of a newspaper called Despertador Americano (American Wake Up Call). He named Pascacio Ortiz de Letona as representative of the insurgent government and sent him to the United States to seek support there. However, this ambassador was apprehended by the Spanish army while in route to Philadelphia and executed.

During this time, insurgent violence mounted in Guadalajara. Citizens loyal to the vice regal government were seized and executed. While indiscriminate looting was avoided, the insurgents targeted the property of Creoles and Spaniards, regardless of political affiliation. In the meantime, the royalist army had retaken Guanajuato, forcing Allende to flee to Guadalajara. After he arrived to the city, Allende again objected to Hidalgo concerning the insurgent violence. However, Hidalgo knew the royalist army was on its way to Guadalajara and wanted to stay on good terms with his own army.

After Guanajuato had been retaken by royalist forces, the bishop there excommunicated Hidalgo and those under him, declaring them to be heretics, perjurers, and blasphemers on December 24,1810. The Inquisition pronounced an edict against him containing a large number of charges including denying that God punishes sins in this world, doubting the authenticity of the Bible, denouncing the popes and Church government, that Jews should not have to convert to Christianity, denying the perpetual virginity of Mary, preaching that there was no hell and adopting Lutheran doctrine with regards to the Eucharist. Fearful of losing support of his army because of these decrees, Hidalgo responded that he had never departed from Church doctrine in the slightest degree.

Royalist forces marched to Guadalajara, arriving in January 1811 with nearly 6,000 men. Allende and Abasolo wanted to concentrate their forces in the city and plan an escape route should they be defeated, but Hidalgo rejected this. Their second choice then was to make a stand at the Calderon Bridge (Puente de Calderon) just outside the city. Hidalgo had between 80,000 and 100,000 men and 95 cannons, but the better trained royalists decisively defeated the insurgent army, forcing Hidalgo to flee towards Aguascalientes. At Hacienda de Pabellon, on January 25, 1811, near Aguascalientes, Allende and other insurgent leaders took military command away from Hidalgo, blaming him for their defeats. Hidalgo remained as head politically but with military command going to Allende.

What was left of the insurgent Army of the Americas moved north towards Zacatecas and Saltillo with the goal of making connections with those the United States for support. Hidalgo made it to Saltillo, where he publicly resigned his military post and rejected a pardon offered by General José de la Cruz in the name of Venegas in return for Hidalgo's surrender. A short time later, they were betrayed and captured by royalist Ignacio Elizondo at the Wells of Baján (Norias de Baján) on March 21,1811 and taken to the city of Chihuahua.

 

The Execution of Hidalgo

Hidalgo was turned over to the bishop of Durango, Francisco Gabriel de Olivares, for an official defrocking and excommunication on July 27, 1811. He was then found guilty of treason by a military court and executed by firing squad on July 3oth at 7:00 in the morning. Before his execution, he thanked his jailers, Privates Soldiers Ortega and Melchor, in letters for their humane treatment. At his execution, Hidalgo placed his right hand over his heart to show the riflemen where they should aim. He also refused the use of a blindfold. His body along with the bodies of Allende, Aldama and José Mariano Jiménez were decapitated, and the heads were put on display on the four corners of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas in Guanajuato. The heads remained there for ten years until the end of the Mexican War of Independence to serve as a warning to other insurgents. Hidalgo's headless body was first displayed outside the prison but then buried in the Church of St Francis in Chihuahua. Those remains would later be transferred in 1824 to Mexico City.

Hidalgo's death resulted in a political vacuum on the insurgent side. The royalist military commander, General Felix Calleja, continued to pursue rebel troops. Insurgent fighting evolved into guerrilla warfare, and eventually the next major insurgent leader, Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon, who had led rebel movements with Hidalgo, became head of the insurgents. In time the conservatives came to support the revolution and Augtin de Intrubide, a conservative, gained independence from Spanish rule when forces under his command entered Mexico City and established a junta to rule Mexico.

 

Hidalgo's legacy

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla had the unique distinction of being a father in three senses of the word: a priestly father in the Roman Catholic Church, a biological father who produced illegitimate children in defiance of his clerical vows, and the father of his country. Hidalgo is hailed as the Father of the Nation, although it was Agustin de Iturbide, not Hidalgo, who finally obtained Mexico’s independence from Spain on September 27, 1821 when he entered Mexico City and established a junta to govern Mexico. Shortly after gaining independence, the day to celebrate it varied between September 15-16th, the day of Hidalgo's Grito, and September 27th the day Iturbide rode into Mexico City ending Spanish rule.

Although Miguel Hidalgo started the war that resulted in Mexico’s independence from Spain he never lived to see Mexico achieve independence. He was captures by Royalist forces and executed on July 30, 1811.

For a number of years following the death of Hidalgo and Jose Maria Morelos the revolution was leaderless and ineffective. Guerilla warfare continued being conduced by small independent groups scarred throughout Mexico. A stalemate resulted with Royalist forces gaining supremacy but being unable to completely wipe out the independent revolutionary forces. Spain, faced with domestic unrest and a disintegrating empire, in 1812 adopted constitution promulgated by Spanish liberals.

In time Mexican conservatives came to see Spain’s new government as a threat and switched their support to the revolutionary movement. Agustin de Iturbide, a conservative, became the leader of these forces. It was when forces under his command entered Mexico City on September 27, 1821, after the defeat of the forces loyal to Spain, that a governing junta was established and Mexico finally became independent of Spanish rule.

Thus it was Agustin de Iturbide, not Miguel Hidalgo, who finally obtained Mexico’s independence from Spain on September 27, 1821. Shortly after gaining independence, the day to celebrate Mexico’s Independence varied between September 15-16th, the day of Hidalgo's Grito, and September 27th the day Iturbide rode into Mexico City ending the Spanish rule over Mexico.

Later political movements would favor the more liberal Hidalgo over the conservative Iturbide as the Father of the Mexican Nation. Consequently in time September 16, 1810 became the officially recognized day of Mexican independence. The reason being is that Hidalgo is considered to be precursor and creator of the rest of the heroes of the Mexican War of Independence.

Thus there was a time when Austin de Iturbide was seen as the Father of his County and September 27th as Mexico’s Independence Day. It would be as if at one time in American history that Samuel Adams, a leader of the movement that became the American Revolution, was seen as the Father of His Country and December 16th, the 1773 date of the Boston Tea Party, was celebrated as America’s Independence.

Austin de Iturbide and the September 27th celebrations have become footnotes in Mexican history. Today, of course, it is Miguel Hidalgo who is seen as the Father of the Nation and Mexico’s independence from Spain is celebrated on September 15-16.

Hidalgo has become an icon for Mexicans who resist tyranny. Diego Rivera painted Hidalgo's image in half a dozen murals. José Clemente Orozco depicted him with a flaming torch of liberty and considered the painting among his best work. David Alfaro Siqueiros was commissioned by San Nicolas University in Morelia to paint a mural for a celebration commemorating the 200th anniversary of Hidalgo's birth. The town of his parish was renamed Dolores Hidalgo in his honor and the state of Hidalgo was created in 1869.

Today Hidalgo is seen as the Father of the Nation and every year on the night of September 15th, the president of Mexico re-enacts the Grito from the balcony of the National Palace at 11 pm as part of Mexico’s two day independence celebration. This scene is repeated by the heads of cities and towns all over Mexico.

The remains of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla lie in the column of the Angel of Independence in Mexico City. Next to it is a lamp lit to represent the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for Mexican Independence.

Link to comment

May 10th – Mother’s Day (Día de las Madres) in Mexico

 

In Mexico, Mother’s Day (El Día de las Madres) is always celebrated on May 10th. Whereas in the United States Mother’s Day is always on the second Sunday in May.

Mother’s Day is a Mexican cultural, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, government offices and businesses are open as usual. Some schools close, close early, or have a special festivities on Mother’s Day.

In Mexico, El Día de las Madres is celebrated in a colorful fashion. Children honor their mothers and thank them for their efforts in bringing them up. According to a custom in Mexico, sons and daughters come to the Family Home on the eve of Mothers Day on May 9th.

In Mexico, recognition of El Día de las Madres began in 1922 when a journalist, Rafael Alducín, wrote an article advocating the celebration of Mother's Day in all of Mexico. Though the practice had already spread to parts of Mexico, Alducín's article led to widespread observance of the holiday, and May 10th became the universal day to celebrate Mother’s Day in Mexico.

On Mother's Day people in Mexico send gifts of flowers and cards to their mothers. There is also a tradition of giving gifts on Mothers Day. While the older children generally buy gifts from the store, the younger ones may prepare handmade gifts to honor their mothers. In many schools Mother’s Day functions are organized where little ones present skits and songs to their Moms to express their gratitude and love.

In Mexico El Día de las Madres is a very important holiday (far more so than Father's Day). Although Mother’s Day has great significance in the United States, El Día de las Madres is culturally even more important in Mexico than is Mother's Day in the United States.

 

History of Mother's Day

Only recently dubbed "Mother's Day," the highly traditional practice of honoring of motherhood is rooted in antiquity. Pagan societies tended to celebrate goddesses and symbols rather than actual mothers. In fact, the personal, human touch to Mother's Day is a relatively new phenomenon. The maternal objects of adoration ranged from mythological female deities to the Christian Church itself. (The veneration of the Virgin Mary probably co-opted pagan worship of goddesses, especially fertility goddesses.) Only in the past few centuries did celebrations of Motherhood develop a decidedly human focus.

One of the earliest historical records of a society celebrating a Mother deity can be found among the ancient Egyptians, who held an annual festival to honor the goddess Isis. In Rome and Asia Minor, Cybele was the major Mother deity most similar to Rhea, the Greek mother of the gods. Other societies worshipped similar deities including Gaia the Earth Goddess and Meter oreie the Mountain Mother. In many aspects, this Mother goddess was represented and celebrated similarly across cultures.

A later incarnation of a holiday to honor Motherhood came from Europe. It fell on the fourth Sunday Lent (the 40 days of fasting preceding Easter Sunday). Early Christians initially used the day to honor the church in which they were baptized, which they knew as their "Mother Church." This place of worship would be decorated with jewels, flowers and other offerings. In the 1600's a clerical decree in England broadened the celebration to include real Mothers, earning the name Mothering Day.

The first American Mother's Day was conceptualized in the United States with Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870. She had written The Battle Hymn of the Republic 12 years earlier. She had become distraught with the violence and killing that she had witnessed and was becoming an outspoken peace activist. At one point Howe even proposed converting July 4th into Mother's Day.

Eventually, however, June 2nd was designated for the celebration. In 1873 women's groups in 18 North American cities observed this new Mother's holiday. Howe initially funded many of these celebrations, but most of them died out once she stopped footing the bill. The city of Boston, however, would continue celebrating Howe's holiday for 10 more years.

Despite the decided failure of her holiday, Howe had nevertheless planted the seed that would blossom into what we know as Mother's Day today.

In its present form, Mother's Day was established in the United States by Anna Marie Jarvism, with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamerk, following the death of her mother, Ann Jarvis, on May 9, 1905. A small service was held on May 12, 1907 in the Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafon, West Virginia, where Anna's mother had been teaching Sunday school. But the first "official" service was on May 10, 1908 in the same church, accompanied by a larger ceremony in the Wanamaker Auditorium in the Wanamaker's store on Philadelphia. She then campaigned to establish Mother's Day first as a United States national holiday and then later as an international holiday.

The holiday was officially declared by the state of West Virginia in 1910, and the rest of states followed quickly. On May 8, 1914, the United States Congress passed legislation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day which also requested a presidential proclamation. On May 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother's Day as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

As noted above, in Mexico, recognition of El Día de las Madres (Mother’s Day) began in 1922 when a journalist, Rafael Alducín, wrote an article advocating the celebration of Mother's Day in all of Mexico.

Today Mother's Day is celebrated through the world, albeit on different days.

Link to comment

June 1st – National Marine [Navy] Day (Día de la Marina Nacional)

 

National Marine [Navy] Day (Día de la Marina) is a civic, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks, schools, government offices, businesses are open as usual. The Mexican flag is flown at full staff on the Día de la Marina in the manner provided for under the Ley sobre el Escudo, Bandera y el Himno Nacionales (Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem).

On June 1, 1917, Mexican President Carranza signed a degree that for all practical purposes nationalized Mexican vessels, establishing a merchant marine and an armed navy. In addition, under the terms of the decree, officers and crews of both merchant and military vessels must be Mexican nationals. Previously many Mexican ships were directed and manned by foreigners.

Girls born in Mexico on June 1st are often named Marina.

Link to comment

June’s Third Sunday – Father's Day (Día del Padre)

 

In Mexico, as in the United States, Father’s Day (El Día del Padre) is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. In Mexico, Mother’s Day (which is not celebrated on the same day the United States celebrates Mother’s Day) is far more significant than is Father’s Day.

Father’s day is a cultural, not statutory, holiday. Employees do not receive a day off (with or without pay). Banks. schools, and government offices, are closed because it is a Sunday. Businesses are open or closed as usual.

 

Día del Padre Celebration

El Día del Padre honors all fathers throughout Mexico, and Mexicans commemorate the day with food, gifts, music and dancing, love and appreciation for the special men who impacted their lives. Mexicans express gratitude and appreciation not only for their fathers, but also for the father figures in their lives such as grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles, big brothers and other men who have been like a father to them.

Family is important to Mexicans, and they celebrate the family with many special occasions throughout the year. Children have their own day on April 30 (Día del Niño), mothers are honored on May 10 (Día de las Madres) and fathers are honored on Father’s Day (Día del Padre) which is the third Sunday in June.

Mexicans celebrate Father’s Day much as it is celebrated in the United States with wives and children giving fathers gifts and greeting cards. Many Mexicans also celebrate Father’s Day with "Carrera Día del Padre 21K Bosque de Tlalpan," an annual runner's race that takes place in Mexico City.

In Mexico Father’s Day usually includes a huge early morning feast of traditional homemade food, including all of the father's favorite dishes. The meal is often finished with traditional Mexican chocolates or pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread iced with colorful, decorative toppings). Although Father’s Day is not a national holiday in Mexico, the public observes the occasion with various parties and festivities that vary from region to region.

 

History of Father’s Day

Father's Day is a celebration of fathers inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother's Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting. The first observance of Father's Day actually took place in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. It was organized by Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton, who wanted to celebrate the lives of the 210 fathers who had been lost in the Monongah Mining disaster several months earlier in Monongah, West Virginia, on December 6, 1907. It is possible that Clayton was influenced by the first celebration of Mother's Day that same year, just a few miles away. Clayton chose the Sunday nearest to the birthday of her recently deceased father. Unfortunately, the day was overshadowed by other events in the city, West Virginia did not officially register the holiday, and it was not celebrated again. Instead, credit for Father's Day went to Sonora Dodd from Spokane, who invented independently her own celebration of Father's Day just two years later, also influenced by Jarvis' Mother's Day. Clayton's celebration was forgotten until 1972, when one of the attendants to the celebration saw Nixon's proclamation of Father's Day, and worked to recover its legacy. The celebration is now held every year in the Central United Methodist Church, as the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was torn down in 1922. Fairmont is now promoted as the "Home of the First Father's Day Service".

A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father's Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized. United States President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress. In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus "[singling] out just one of our two parents". In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972. In addition to Father's Day, International Men's Day is celebrated in many countries on November 19 for men and boys who are fathers.

Although the name of the event is usually understood as a plural possessive (i.e. "day belonging to fathers"), which would under normal English punctuation guidelines be spelled "Fathers' Day," the most common spelling is "Father's Day," as if it were a singular possessive (i.e. "day belonging to Father"). In the United States, Dodd used the "Fathers' Day" spelling on her original petition for the holiday, but the spelling "Father's Day" was already used in 1913 when a bill was introduced to the United States Congress as the first attempt to establish the holiday, and it was still spelled the same way when its creator was commended in 2008 by the United States Congress.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
×
×
  • Create New...