Category Archives: Mexican Holidays

Women in Mexican History–Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez

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María Josefa Crescencia Ortiz Téllez-Girón de Dominguez

One of the very few women mentioned in Mexican history is Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez. She was born María Josefa Crescencia Ortiz Téllez-Girón on April 19, 1773, in Valladolid which is now known as Morelia, Michoacan. Her father, Juan José Ortiz Vasquez, a captain of Los Verdes regiment, was killed when she was an infant. Her mother, Manuela Téllez-Girón, died soon after. She was raised by her older sister, Maria Sotera Ortiz.

She attended the Colegio de las Vizcaínas in 1789. There she met her husband, Miguel Dominguez, a widower with 4 children, who had toured the school with a group of officials one day. They secretly married in 1791, less than a year after they met. Josefa was 18 years old and Miguel was 35.

In 1802, Miguel was appointed chief magistrate (Corregidor) of the city Queretaro and brought his growing family there to live. Josefa and Miguel’s married life was reported to be happy and they had 14 children together. Their children were Maria Ignacia (1792), J.M. Florencio (1793), Mariano (1794), Maria Dolores (1796), Miguel (1797), Maria Juana (1799), Maria Micaela (1800), Remigio (1801), Maria Teresa (1803), Maria Manuel (1804), Maria Ana (1806), J.M. Hilarion (1807), Maria Magdalena (1811) and Maria del Carmen (1812).

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Josefa with fellow conspirators Hidalgo and Aldama.

Both Josefa and Miguel, despite his position, were sympathizers in the Mexican revolution movement. They often hosted political meetings attended by Miguel Hidalgo and Ignacio Allende, and aided in the collection of weapons. The revolution was planned for December 8, 1810, however, on September 13, the plot was betrayed.

Josefa’s husband Miguel was ordered to apprehend the revolutionaries. He locked Josefa in her room to keep her out of harm’s way and prevent her from warning the other. She still managed to get a message out, pieced together with cut out letters from printed text to hide her involvement. This message was eventually taken to Miguel Hidalgo who subsequently moved the date of the revolution up and gave his rousing speech in Dolores (El Grito de Dolores) in the evening of September 15.

On September 16, both Josefa and her husband were arrested. Miguel, because of his government position, was released the following day. However, Josefa (known as La Corregidora) was not released until October 22, 1810. She was pregnant with her daughter Maria Magdalena (born March 14, 1811) during her incarceration.

In December of 1813, Josefa’s husband turned her over to authorities for her role in the rebellion against Spain. She was confined to the Santa Clara Convent in Queretaro for a time, then sent to Mexico City to stand trial. She was found guilty and sent to the Santa Teresa Convent. She was released into her husband’s custody in April 1814 because of poor health. She miscarried her 15th child shortly after her release.

She was arrested again on December 22, 1815, and sent to the Santa Catalina de Sena Convent. She was finally released on June 17, 1817, after swearing an oath that she would no longer participate in any acts of rebellion against the Spanish crown.

She died from pleurisy on March 2, 1829, in Mexico City. Her patriotic acts and sacrifices earned her a place in the roll call of El Grito Mexicano recited each year during the Independence celebrations. ¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez!

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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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Día de la Bandera Flag Day in Mexico

Flag Day in Mexico is celebrated on February 24 and has been since 1937. This particular date was selected because in 1821, the Plan de Iguala was devised based on the three principles of “Religion, Independence, and Unity” which Jose Magdaleno Ocampo personified with the three colors of the Mexican flag “white, green, and red” in that order.

The flag has undergone several modifications since then, most notably the rearrangement of the colors (green, white, red), their supposed significance (Hope, Unity, Blood of National Heroes) and the addition of an eagle devouring a serpent on a cactus over a lake. The national emblem found on the most recent design of the flag was designed by  Pedro Moctezuma Díaz Infante y Francisco Eppens Helguera in 1968.  This image is commonly credited as having been inspired by the myth of the wandering Mexicas.  This nomadic tribe was given a sign from Huitzilopochtli that when they discovered the place where the eagle was feasting on the serpent, they should build their city.  And build it they did. According to legend, the city that they founded is now known as the mighty metropolis of Mexico City.

There are some saluting customs that relate to the Mexican flag.  While the escolta (honor guard) bring the flag into position, usually accompanied by the playing of the national anthem, spectators are to place their right hands at heart level, palm parallel to the ground and elbow sharply out.  As the national anthem is a tad long, it’s a very tiring position to hold.

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Then when the pledge of allegiance (el juramento) is recited the right arm is extended forward in the direction of the flag in what is known as the Bellamy Salute but looks a lot like Heil Hitler. This is always the right arm, never the left.  Extending the left arm is a no-no, probably going back to the belief that the left was the side of the devil. The hand is always opened palm down, never fisted.

¡Bandera de México!,legado de nuestros héroessímbolo de la unidadde nuestros padresy de nuestros hermanos,te prometemos ser siempre fielesa los principios de libertad y justiciaque h

Government offices and required and civilians are encouraged to fly the flag at full mast in commemoration of significant events in the history of Mexico.21 January Birth of Ignacio Allende (1779).5 February Adoption of the Constitutions of 1857 and 1917.19 February Día del Ejército Mexicano (Day of the Mexican Army).24 February Día de Other days require the flag to be flown at half-mast as a sign of national mourning. In addition to those listed, the president of the republic can decree the flag be flown half-mast for other events such as in honor of the death of an important figure in Mexico, the head of state of another country or a major tragedy where loss of life is recognized, like an earthquake.21 January Birth of Ignacio Allende (1779).5 February Adoption of the Constitutions of 1857 and 1917.19 February Día del Ejército Mexicano (Day of the Mexican Army).24 February Día de This would be a good place to list the verses of the national anthem of Mexico, but it is long and the story certainly merits its own post.

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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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Día del Ejército–Mexican Armed Forces Day

In 1950, February 19 was set aside to honor the Mexican Armed Forces (land and air). This day was chosen because on this date in 1913 Venustiano Carranza decreed that the Mexican army was the official organization in charge of sustaining the constitutional order of the Republic.

Women are permitted to volunteer for the armed forces, however, when a Mexican man turns 18, he is legally required to complete a year of military service which for the most part is made up of weekend drills and social work. Once this obligation is met, the Cartilla del Servicio Militar National (Military National Service Identity Card) is issued. In some areas, this is a required form of identification for employment but is no longer required in order to get a Mexican passport.

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It’s no surprise that the official motto is “Siempre Leales” (Always Loyal) and the mascot is the Golden Eagle just like on the Mexican flag.

The Mexican Armed Forces have been engaged in the following military actions: War of Independence, Spanish attempts to reconquer Mexico, Texas Revolution, Pastry War, Capture of Monterey, Mexican–American War, Caste War of Yucatán, Reform War, French Intervention, Mexican Revolution, Border War, Cristero War, World War II, Dirty War, Zapatista Uprising, Mexican Drug War although some of these were conflicts with other Mexican militaries or civilians.

The Mexican Plan to Aid Civilian Disaster (DN-III-E) was developed in 1966. Since then the Mexican Armed Forces have provided disaster relief within Mexico, throughout Central America, Indonesia, and the United States.

In areas where there are military bases, this day is celebrated with government ceremonies, not so much in the rest of Mexico.

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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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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.

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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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