Category Archives: Mexican Holidays

Constitution Day

February 5 is the anniversary of the signing of the Mexican constitution of 1917.  The holiday is observed the first Monday in February. Most banks, schools and government offices are closed. The sale of alcohol is prohibited in tourist areas from February 2 to February 5.

This document is properly known by the weighty name La Constitución política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos que reforma la del 5 de febrero de 1857. The constitution signed in 1917 replaced the constitution of 1857 which had replaced the constitution of 1824 which had replaced the constitution of Apatzingán of 1814. As of 2017, the newest Mexican constitution has been revised 699 times. You can find a chronological list of these reforms here. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until 2011 that the constitution included a section on human rights.

In some areas, this day is commemorated with parades and other civic events.  Not much happens where we live though.

día-de-la-constitución

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Then check out A Woman’s Survival Guide to Holidays in Mexico!

 

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The price of a piece of cake

On January 7, El Dia de los Reyes Magos, we had a little get-together at our place to partake the Rosca de Reyes (King’s cake). Both my son and I were “fortunate” to find El Niño Dios (the plastic baby Jesus) in our sections. This meant we would be honorary godparents for the presentation of Jesus at the temple on February 2, el Dia de la Candelaria. This is the day that everyone takes their baby Jesus figurine from the nativity scene to be blessed at church.

As godparents, we would be in charge of the mandatory tamales and atole.

Well, there was nothing to it, but get to it.

The same people that gathered for the Rosca were again invited to our home for the tamales. Thus ends the Christmas season in Mexico, finally. Time to start gearing up for cuaresma (Lent) which begins on March 6 this year.

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Do you want to learn more about Mexican holidays and traditions?

Then check out A Woman’s Survival Guide to Holidays in Mexico!

 

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Christmas in Mexico–Los Santos Inocentes

In our area, December 28, Holy Innocents’ Day, doesn’t get a lot of attention because it falls during Christmas break but I would be remiss to not make mention of the Mexican version of April Fools’ Day.

With such a benign name (Los Santos Inocentes) it’s hard to believe that this day was originally set to commemorate baby boys killed by King Herod in Bethlehem after he realized he had been “tricked” by the traveling astrologers. (Matthew 2:16)  So since the mighty King Herod found himself outwitted, the custom of practical jokes evolved.

Not only are there jokes galore, but you also must be leery of lending anything on this day since the borrower has no obligation to return it again with reference to the deceit by the wise men.  King Herod had requested that once the child was found, the wise men should return to inform him so that Herod “may also go and pay him homage.” King Herod more than likely lent the weary travelers food and supplies, perhaps even gifts to give the Christ child but the wise men were “warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another path” leaving Herod without any returns. (Matthew 2)  Thus you might hear “Inocente palomita te dejaste engañar hoy por ser día 28 en nadie debes confiar” (Innocent dove you allowed someone to trick you. Today being the 28th, you should trust in no one).

Of course, Herod also was tricked since even after ordering the murder of boys under the age of two in Bethlehem, Jesus survived because Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt. He took Mary and her son “by night” (Matthew 2:13-15) and escaped. So haha Herod?  The jokes on you.

I believe the biggest joke is the date chosen by the Catholic church.  The date of the massacre was calculated on the basis that Jesus was born on the evening of December 24 (which has been established as pretty shoddy guesswork) and the visit of the wise men occurred on February 6, (which again is without rhyme nor reason.) Since the infanticide of a few Jewish babies wasn’t considered important enough for historians of the time to record, the actual date is unknown but because it was a holy day at the time the Catholic Church arrived in Mexico, a holiday it remains.

Like I mentioned, this holiday doesn’t get a lot of attention in our area. I’d love to hear about places that make a big tadoo about this one.  Apparently, once upon a time, the jolly ol’ English custom was to whip your kids in bed in the morning on the Feast of the Holy Innocents Day to remind the children to be mournful.  Ahh–the good old days!

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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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