Tag Archives: Mexican–American War

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.

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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.

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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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Learn about other people in Mexican history!

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Mexican Independence Day

September is a particularly patriotic month for México.
salute
It begins with the commemoration of the Niños Heroes (Boy Heroes) on September 13th. Our little school had “la mañanita Mexicana” on  the 13th (which is also the anniversary of the Congress of Chilpancingo or Anahuac when México declared itself independent from Spain in 1813) and in addition to the typical traditions, honored those cadets that died defending the flag at Mexico City’s Chapultepec Castle from invading U.S. forces in during the Mexican–American War in 1847.

In the call and response manner commonly found in the Catholic Church, each teenager’s name was read, and the attendees responded with “Murió por la patria.” (He died for our country.)
The Niños Héroes were:
Juan de la Barrera (age 19)
Juan Escutia (age 15–19)
Francisco Márquez (age 13)
Agustín Melgar (age 15–19)
Fernando Montes de Oca (age 15–19)
Vicente Suárez (age 14)
Each town does things a little differently. In Moroleón, in the afternoon on September 14, there is a caminata (mini-parade) of local horsemen from Moroleón to El Ojo del Agua Enmedio (where we go to get our water supply). This year, my husband participated with Beauty.

tail end of the caminata

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My husband all ready for the caminata.

El Grito de Dolores (The Shout from Dolores–a small pueblito (town) where Hidalgo made his call to arms speech) on September 15th, marks the official beginning of the Independence day celebration at around 11 p.m. The church bells are rung and the presidente (mayor) of Moroleón recites El Grito (the shout) with attendees responding with “Viva” to indicate their support. independance day
¡Mexicanos! (Mexicans)
¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron la patria y libertad!
(Long live the heroes that gave us our liberty)
¡Viva Hidalgo!
(Long live Hidalgo)
¡Viva Morelos!
(Long live Morelos)
¡Viva Josefa Ortíz de Dominguez!
(Long live Josefa)
¡Viva Allende!
(Long live Allende)
¡Viva Galena y los Bravos!
(Long live Galena and the Braves)
¡Viva Aldama y Matamoros!
(Long live Aldama and Matamoros)
¡Viva la Independencia Nacional!
(Long live national independence)
¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!
(Long live Mexico)

The church bells are rung again and the pyrotechnic show begins.

parade

In Moroleón, there is a civic parade in the morning on September 16. The members of the presidencia (City Hall) lead the march with la reina de Moroleón (sort of like the homecoming queen) and her escort of charros (horsemen) finishing it off.

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The horses, in my opinion, the best part, are at the very end so that marchers don’t have to swerve around poop piles. Most of the civil organizations of the town are represented, from the Down Syndrome club to those of the tercer edad (elderly). Students from the secondarias (high school) and tele-universities and their drum and bugle members also march. It makes for a long and tedious procession.

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There is a second parade on either the 27th or 28th of the month to mark the day of the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire which happened September 28, 1821, 10 years after the historic “grito.” I’ve mentioned before, things here in México take much longer than anticipated, including the fight for independence. This parade is open to the primaria (elementary) schools in addition to those that participated in the first parade, therefore, an even longer and more tedious procession. Last year my son was chosen to be part of the escolta (honor guard) for his school. As Los Niños Heroes (see above) died defending the flag, in their honor the members of each school’s escolta (honor guard) are the best and brightest with the highest promedio (grade average). Needless to say, I was one proud mama cheering him on!

esculta

Each school has an escolta (honor guard) in the parade.

The kinders (kindergartens) also have a parade, but it is much shorter. It involves no more than 3 times around the plaza but even that is tiring for little legs.
kinder parade
The best part of the parades is the dousing with confetti. Parade marchers that are not honored with the confetti hasta los chonies (all the way to the underwear) experience are those without attentive family or friends in attendance. Bags can be bought for the low, low price of 5 pesos for 2 little bags. I imagine clean up is a drag for the street sweepers though. confetti

If you missed the patriotic events this month, don’t fret. You’ll get another chance in November with the commemoration of the Mexican Revolution!

morelos

If you are interested in learning more about the complicated events surrounding the Mexican fight for independence, you can start by watching Hidalgo La Historia Jamas Contada.

hidalgo

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