Category Archives: Mexican Holidays

12 days of Guadalupe on Instagram

Jill Douglas set our little SOTB Bloggers group a challenge this month, to find and share 12 images of the Virgen de Guadalupe on Instagram.

You might wonder why I participated since I’m not Catholic, nor Mexican, and the iconic image doesn’t inspire a spiritual connection to either the Virgin Mary or Tonantzin in me. However, I can appreciate good artwork when I see it, whatever its theme. After all, historically, artists made their bread and butter from murals, statues, and paintings commissioned by the church. For example, Da Vinci created the religious masterpiece The Last Supper and was not what was considered an orthodox Christian and Michelangelo who painted the glorious Sistine Chapel was condemned by the Pope for his religious beliefs.  

Be that as it may, I accepted the challenge and set off in search of La Virgen. The nearest town, Moroleon has whitewashed nearly all religious drawings with the exception of the churches themselves. As I wanted to capture a people’s version of La Virgen, I wasn’t interested in tromping into churches to snap pictures there. So my husband took me to Uriangato, which as you know has a different feel altogether. (Uriangato, Fogatas, tapetes and San Miguel Arcangel) Sure enough, nearly every corner had a shrine in honor of La Virgen de Guadalupe and I could take my pick.

It was evident that each mural was lovingly maintained. Flowers and plants were well-kept. The image was often covered by a roof or had evidence of periodic touching up. And the artwork was good, very good. Some murals only depicted her Majesty, Nuestra Señora la Reina de Mexico, herself. Others included Juan Diego, who was the first to speak with the apparition way back in 1531.  Still others included a crucified Jesus or a prayer asking for the Protectress’s blessing.

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Here is a composite of the 12 pictures I shared on Instagram leading up to today, el Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, which the feast day that kicks off the holiday season known as Guadalupe-Reyes Maraton here in Mexico.

If you enjoyed these pictures, check out the #12daysofguadalupe participants below:

My Life Craft-n-Dab

Jill Michelle Douglas

Surviving Mexico

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Would you like to learn more about La Virgen de Guadalupe?

Check out my comprehensive guidebook to Mexican Holidays available now on Amazon!

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Transmisión del Poder Ejecutivo Federal

Every 6 years, December 1 is a national holiday.  It’s the day that Mexican federal power transfers to a new president.  Out with the old, in with the new (unless you are Porfirio Diaz or Benito Juarez that is). It’s similar to the transfer of the flag from the graduating class to the junior class during graduation ceremonies.  

Here you can see the transfer of power (represented by the flag) from Felipe Calderón Hinojosa to Enrique Peña Nieto in 2012.

I imagine this became a federal holiday to reduce protests bound to happen during such a momentous event. With no work, it’s a good chance that the peasants will be too drunk to do much in the way of organizing a revolution. But this remains my own opinion on it. I was unable to find any reason why this day is in any way special. It’s the same old tired story, no matter who is president.

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Filed under Mexican Holidays, Politics

A brief account of the Mexican Revolution

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Although I’ve talked about the personal experience of one woman and her family during the Mexican Revolution, I haven’t really discussed the holiday itself with good reason. The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) was a long, bloody, convoluted episode that even after almost 100 years still is confusing.

Here are the facts as best as I understand them.

Porfirio Diaz, a distinguished hero at the Batalla de Puebla in 1862, assumed control of the Mexican government and remained in control for 30 years as an elected dictator. Interested in only maintaining his power, he ruled in favor of the rich. While this period was responsible for the significant industrial advancement of Mexico, it came at a cost to the common people.

In 1910, Francisco Madero ran for president. Diaz had him arrested. Undeterred, Madero published the Plan de San Luis Potosí calling for revolution on November 20. In the northern part of the country, Pascual Orozco and Francisco (Pancho) Villa began raiding government garrisons. In the southern part of the country, Emiliano Zapata’s forces began attacks on the rural political heads of state.

In 1911, Diaz was forced to resign and Madero was named president. Unhappy with the new policies, Zapata and Orozco turned against Madero.

In 1913, Porfirio Diaz’s nephew, Felix Diaz, fought with Victoriano Huerta in Mexico City in a battle called La Decena Trágica. Diaz, Huerta and U.S. Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson met and signed the Pact of the Embassy. Madero and his vice-president Jose Maria Pino Suárez were arrested and assassinated. Huerta became president.

Villa, Alvaro Obregon and Venustiano Carranza combined their forces against Huerta. The Plan de Guadalupe demanded Huerta’s resignation. In 1914, Huerta was sent into exile and Carranza declared himself president. Another period of violence and unrest followed including the invasion of Veracruz by the U.S. Eulalio Gutierrez was elected president. This caused division in the ranks. Villa and Zapata supported Gutierrez while Obregon and Carranza opposed his presidency with the support of the U.S. government.

After Villa’s defeat in April 1915 in Celaya, he began attacking U.S. citizens in Mexico and along the border. By presidential order, General John J. Pershing was sent into Mexico in pursuit of Villa.

Carranza drafted the Constitution of 1917. Zapata was assassinated in 1919. A railroad strike in Sonora in 1920 further reduced any support Carranza still had and he was killed while trying to flee Mexico City in May. Adolfo de la Huerta was the interim president and Obregon was elected in November.

Violent civil unrest continued, including the Cristero War, until 1934 when Lazaro Cardenas assumed the presidency and enforced the constitution of 1917.  During this period, perhaps 2 million people died and nearly 200,000 refugees fled abroad, especially to the United States.

So a little something to think about as you watch the parade huh?

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A Woman’s Survival Guide to Holidays

Remember how I said that I was writing a survival guide for women moving to Mexico? Well, the project has become enormous. So I’ve decided to publish the sections as separate books so that the sheer volume of information doesn’t become overwhelming.

Today I’d like to announce that the first section of the survival guide is now available at Amazon.  A Woman’s Survival Guide to Holidays in Mexico answers how, when, and why these festivities are observed not from abstract research, but personal experience. Because moving to a new country can be daunting, learning about the patriotic, religious and civil festival days will help you understand some of what makes up the Mexican culture and allow you to become more fully immersed in the amazingly diverse world of Mexico. Viva! holidays

This informative book is available for your reading pleasure on Kindle, as a full colored paperback (which is a bit pricey) and as a black and white paperback.

And in celebration of its release, the Kindle version is FREE for the next few days!

As for my other books……

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The paperback version of  Wascally Wabbits and Zombie Babies: Animal Antics South of the Border has also just been released.  The Kindle version of this book has been updated with a few new adventures.

La Yacata Revolution: How NOT to Buy a Piece of Heaven in Mexico and A to Z Reasons Why La Yacata is the Place to Be in Any Disaster: A Prepper’s Guide to Mexico have had updates recently as well.

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So, that ought to keep you busy while I keep working on another installment of the Woman’s Survival Guide series.  Happy reading!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Mexican Cultural Stories, Mexican Holidays, Politics, Religion