Tag Archives: may holidays in mexico

May Holidays in Mexico– Pascua de Pentecostés–Pentecost Sunday

pentecostes-el-greco

A special mass is held on Pascua de Pentecostés (Pentecost Sunday), and the church is decorated in red fifty days after Easter.  The red decor is used primarily as a representation of the tongues of fire that appeared over 120 heads Jesus’ followers on Pentecost as described in the bible in Acts 2:1-31.  The tongues of fire were believed to be manifestations of God’s holy spirit and bestowed the ability to speak in “tongues” (other languages) to those gathered.  Those that had received the holy spirit in this form were charged with spreading the teachings of Christ throughout the world.

It is always observed on a Sunday, so as not to interfere with the work-week. May has a plethora of Mexican holidays already. This year (2015) the mass is Sunday, May 24.

Catholics are supposed to fast the evening before and there is a novena (9-day prayer) beginning El Jueves de la Ascension and ending on Pascua de Pentecostés (See La Novena).

first comunion color

As a high holy day, Pentecost Sunday is the big First Communion and Confirmation day. I suppose the idea is that you will be especially blessed by making your Catholicism known on this day. That little extra blessedness might just make the difference down the line.  Better to safe than sorry right?

May is quite the month here in Mexico. Every time you turn around there is another celebration! For other Mexican May holidays see: El Día de los Trabajadores, Conmemoración del Escuadron de Pelea 201, El Dia de La Santa Cruz y El Dia del Albañil, La Batalla de Puebla, Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo, El Dia de la Madre, El Jueves de la Ascensión, Pascua de Pentecostés, El Día del Maestro, and El Dia del Estudiante

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May Holidays in Mexico–El Día del Maestro–Teachers’ Day

El Día del Maestro (Teachers’ day) is celebrated on May 15th. Recently, this has been marked by a school suspension granted by SEP which means a day off for teachers. Whoohoo! It was first celebrated in 1918 in Mexico.

isadore

San Isidoro Saint Isidore the Farmer

According to some, May 15th was chosen because of a celebration in San Luis Potosí. Students gathered every May 15 to celebrate the birthday of a teacher named Isidoro, named after Saint Isidore the Farmer, (San Isidoro) whose Saint Day is May 15, the day of his death in the year 1130 or 1172 depending on the source consulted. Isidore, the farmer, not the teacher, was made a Saint in 1622. Saint Isidore is often depicted as a peasant with a stalk of corn and while apropos for Mexico, not exactly a teacher representation.

Come again?

Ok, let’s try that again with a little more explanation. It is common in Mexico to name children after the Saint honored on the day they were born. Or at least to have the Saint as part of the child’s name. So you might hear Justin Isidore or Nancy Maria these days.  My mother-in-law named all of her 11 children after the saint day closest to their birth. Anyway, the teacher Isidore was born on May 15 of whatever year, which happened to be the Feast Day of Saint Isidore the Farmer. May 15 was Saint Isidore the Farmer’s Feast day because he died on May 15 in 1130 or 1172. I’m not sure how that local celebration caused the national holiday to be commemorated on May 15 though.

Another historical, though an unrelated event, happened in Mexico on May 15, 1867. The forces of Benito Juarez captured the city of Querétaro on this day. Wiki says that this is a secondary reason for the date chosen. Why a military victory should determine when Teachers’ Day should be celebrated is beyond me.

What seems more likely is the following:

Pope Leo XII made Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, the French priest, educational reformer and founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a saint in 1900. The pope gave La Salle May 24 as his Saint day. Pope Pius X added the Saint day of to the General Roman Calendar in 1904, however as May 24 was already taken, he changed the Saint Day to May 15.

Jean-Baptiste de La Salle

Jean-Baptiste de La Salle

The good Catholic founding fathers of Mexico were familiar with the Catholic Saint Calendar and appropriately chose a teacher-saint day as the official Teachers’ Day celebration way back in 1918.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared Jean-Baptiste de La Salle the patron saint of teachers and confirmed May 15th as his saint day. Then, in 1969, Jean-Baptiste de La Salle’s Saint Day was changed by Pope Paul V to April 7, which was the date of La Salle’s death. However, Mexico kept right on using May 15 for this holiday.

Moroléon, up until this last year, hosted a dinner and raffle for teachers. As a teacher, I was able to attend several years in a row and enjoyed the mediocre food, music, dancing but was never selected as a raffle winner. Last year, someone in the Presidencia (town hall) decided that teachers weren’t worth the public expense and canceled the town party, although the raffle still took place. I didn’t win anything and don’t know anyone who did. A bit suspicious that…

In most private schools, the owner provides a lunch or dinner to express his or her appreciation for the work the teachers do on the owner’s behalf. After all, the teachers are who make or break a school. My current employer has been generous with both praise and “extras” these past few years and I, for one, have appreciated it immensely.

May is quite the month here in Mexico. Every time you turn around there is another celebration! For other Mexican May holidays see: El Día de los Trabajadores, Conmemoración del Escuadron de Pelea 201, El Dia de La Santa Cruz y El Dia del Albañil, La Batalla de Puebla, Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo, El Dia de la Madre, El Jueves de la Ascensión, Pascua de Pentecostés, El Día del Maestro, and El Dia del Estudiante

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May Holidays in Mexico–El Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo–Birthday of Miguel Hidalgo

May 8 is an official civic holiday in Mexico, although no one in our area seems to know that. There is even a street in Uriangato (el 8 de mayo) in honor of this holiday, but no one could tell me what was so special about this day that it got its own street name.

But, doing a little research, I found that May 8 is the birthday of Miguel Hidalgo, a revolutionary priest born in 1753, and the day Mexico and the day the US first engaged in battle in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). Fancy that!

hidalgo

Don Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo-Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor holds the dubious triple title of Father. Once as a priest in the Catholic church, secondly, as a biological father since he had at least 5 illegitimate children with two different women while serving as a priest and third as the Father of Mexico, although he didn’t live to see Mexican independence. Despite his less than orthodox lifestyle (he liked to drink and gamble too), Hidalgo was a champion of class equality and worked tirelessly to better the lives of the oppressed indigenous and mestizo people of Mexico.

alhondiga-02

The alhondiga in Guanajuato where the decapitated heads were hung.

For his efforts, he was betrayed and sent to the bishop of Durango who defrocked and excommunicated Hidalgo in 1811. He was then tried by a military court, found guilty of treason and executed. His body, along with the bodies of military leaders Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama and Jose Mariano Jimenez, was decapitated. The heads were displayed on the four corners of the Ahondiga de Granaditas in Guanajuato for 10 years.

hidalgo movie

For more information about the life of Miguel Hidalgo, watch the movie Hidalgo--la historia jamas contada
The movie does a good job of portraying the humanity rather than sainthood of Hidalgo.

mexicanwarmap

The second historic event was the first major battle of the Mexican-American War, although the U.S. did not officially declare war on Mexico until May 13. On May 8, 1846, Zachary Taylor and 2,400 U.S. troops arrived at Fort Texas. The Mexican forces were defeated and forced north of the Rio Grande. This war resulted from the refusal of Mexico to recognize Texas as part of the United States

Mexico refers to this war as La Intervención Estadounidense (The United States Invasion) and did not acknowledge the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845. After all, Mexico had claimed this area from the Spanish Empire after the Revolution in 1821, and more than 80,000 Mexicans lived in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. Mexico felt the annexation was a hostile action against its borders and declared war on the United States.

Like I mentioned, no one seems to know about these particular events in our area, much less make a big festive deal about them, although I am sure that both events are thoroughly covered in history class.

May is quite the month here in Mexico. Every time you turn around there is another celebration! For other Mexican May holidays see: El Día de los Trabajadores, Conmemoración del Escuadron de Pelea 201El Dia de La Santa Cruz y El Dia del AlbañilLa Batalla de PueblaNatalicio de Miguel HidalgoEl Dia de las Madres, El Jueves de la AscensiónnPascua de PentecostésEl Día del Maestro, and El Dia del Estudiante

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May Holidays in Mexico– La Batalla de Puebla–The Battle of Puebla

batalla-puebla

Commonly known as Cinco de Mayo, this day is mistakenly thought to be Mexican Independence day. However, May 5 is officially known as La Batalla de Puebla (The Battle of Puebla)and commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in 1862. In Puebla, there is a reenactment of the battle and is more of a big tadoo than in the rest of Mexico, but it is an official day off with most, but not all, businesses and schools closed.

There remains quite a bit of ignorance about the holiday.  Mexico’s own president, Enrique Pena Nieto, believes the battle to have taken place a mere 20 years ago!

See the video clip here:

cinco-de-mayo

So here’s the lowdown…

When President Benito Juarez defaulted on loans made by France, Britain, and Spain, the European countries sent forces to Veracruz to collect. Britain and Spain came to terms with Mexico and left. France decided to invade.

Six thousand French troops set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles. Juarez sent 2,000 untrained indigenous and mixed-blood men under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza. The French lost nearly 500 soldiers in the attack and retreated. Less than 100 Mexicans were killed.

It wasn’t the end of the invasion, however. France didn’t withdraw its forces for 6 more years. Puebla de Los Angeles was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza after the General who led that rag-tag band to victory but died of typhoid a few months later.

battle of puebla

The U.S. has adopted Cinco de Mayo much as it did with St. Patrick’s Day. Most north of the border celebrations are centered around drinking and maracas rather than any real resemblance to traditional Mexican festivities.

Does that really surprise anyone?

President Obama decided to use Cinco de Mayo in 2015 as a platform for his proposed immigration reform.  Check out the video clip at:

cinco movie

For a better understanding of the complex events surrounding this battle, watch the movie Cinco De Mayo: La Batalla (English Subtitled)or Cinco de Mayo: Yesterday and Today for kids.

cinco de mayo

May is quite the month here in Mexico. Every time you turn around there is another celebration! For other Mexican May holidays see: El Día de Los TrabajadoresConmemoración del Escuadron de Pelea 201El Dia de La Santa Cruz y El Dia del AlbañilLa Batalla de Puebla, Natalicio de Miguel HidalgoEl Dia de la MadrenPascua de PentecostésEl Día del Maestro, and El Dia del Estudiante

 

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