Category Archives: Mexican Holidays

Ponche Navideño

Ponche is THE best drink Mexico has to offer during the Christmas holiday season. This year I decided to try and concoct it myself. Much to my delight, it turned out perfectly! So if you are interested in preparing this hot beverage for your New Year’s Eve festivities, let me share the recipe that Doña Lupe, one of my sister-in-law’s tortilla makers gave me.

There isn’t an exact quantity for each item because it depends on how big the pot you are using to boil it all in and your personal preferences. I’ll give you approximate measurements for 5.5-Quart pan. I recommend you don’t fill the pot to the top with water until you have all the ingredients in. 

  • 12 tejocotes, which are are small orange crabapples from the Crataegus Mexicana Hawthorn tree. If you can’t find tejocotes in your local market, crabapples will work. If crabapples are unavailable, you can leave this ingredient out or add additional green apples.
  • 1 peeled naranja (orange)
  • 1 length of caña (sugar cane) about three feet or so peeled and cut into pieces about 4 to 5 inches long.
  • 8 tamarindos with the shell and veins removed. Soaking them for a while makes it easier to remove the shell and veins. 
  • 6 guayabas cut into halves or quarters. 
  • 2 handfuls of pasas (raisins) or higos (figs) whichever you prefer. 
  • 1 large handful of jamaica (Hibiscus).
  • 3 or 4 sticks of canela (cinnamon).
  • 1 to 3 cones of piloncillo (brown sugar cone) depending on your personal preference and the size of the cone.
  • 1 manzana verde (green apple) sliced.
  • 1 pera (pear) sliced.

Top up the pot almost to the brim with water. Simmer on low for several hours, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. The drink is served hot with bits of fruit and sugar cane in it. You can spice things up by adding some rum to the mixture, but it’s not necessary as it’s simply divine as it is. 

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El Dia de la Marina–National Maritime Day

LOGO_Marina_Armada_de_Mexico_NEGRO.svg

National Maritime Day (Día de la Marina) is a Mexican holiday celebrated on June 1 each year. Mexico has two huge coastlines measuring 11,122 km (6,911 mi) and as such, commands a naval forces known as the Armada de México which includes 189 ships and about 130 aircraft.

June 1 was chosen because on that day in 1917, the merchant ship “Tabasco” left Veracruz for the first time with a crew made up entirely of native-born Mexicans. Marine day was first observed in 1942 in honor of two ships that were sunk by German submarines, the Potrero del Llano and Faja de Oro.

The Mexican Navy is divided into three main units:

And two smaller units:

Marine Day celebrations include simulated maneuvers such as defusing hijacking and terrorist situations, drug busts on the open waters and so on, followed by civic events at designated naval facilities.

Being smack dab in the middle of the country, we haven’t had the occasion to watch any of these events. How is el Día de la Marina observed in your area?

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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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The Anniversary of the Heroic Defense of Veracruz

April 21 is a national holiday.  It marks the day in 1914 that US naval troops invaded Veracruz and the death of an unknown number of Mexican civilians, nearly 200 soldiers, Luis Felipe José Azueta Abad and Virgilio Uribe Robles both cadets at the naval academy.  Azueta and Uribe are included in the roll call of honor along with the six Niños Héroes that died during the Battle of Chapultepec on September 13, 1847.   

So here’s what happened in a nutshell. During this time period, relations between the US and Mexico were not the best. Additionally, Mexico was in the midst of a civil war. There had been an unfortunate incident earlier in the month in Tampico, Tamaulipas. Nine unarmed US sailors had been arrested when they entered an off-limits fueling station. The sailors were later released, unharmed, but the US Navy demanded an official apology from the Mexican government and a 21-gun salute. Mexico apologized but the 21-gun salute was not provided. A request was made to the US Congress to authorize the occupation of Veracruz.

While awaiting authorization, President Woodrow Wilson learned of a shipment of arms set to arrive on April 21 in Veracruz for Victoriano Huerta, who had taken over the Mexican presidency the previous year with the assistance of the US ambassador. The weapons had been financed by a US businessman with large investments in Mexico and a Russian arms dealer from Puebla. This arms shipment was used to legitimize the occupation of Veracruz.

As a result of the invasion and 7-month occupation, US citizens were expelled from Mexico and housed in refugee camps in New Orleans, Texas City, and San Diego. The tension between Mexico and the US, along with the ongoing Mexican Civil War, kept Mexico out of World War I. The US considered another occupation of both Veracruz and Tampico in 1917, however, the new president Venustiano Carranza had the oil fields destroyed there, reducing the value of another hostile invasion.

As for civic events in honor of this day, they tend to be limited to Veracruz and military bases.

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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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