I am feeling just a little somber right now! Today is Mexico's centennial Independence Day Celebration......I am not there to join the celebration....but maybe next year?
For the past two years at least, there have been signs all along the roads and advertised on the city buses that say "Ruta 2010" in anticipation of the great celebration event. Here is am example of this:
Mexicans typically celebrate the day BEFORE a major holiday---for example Christmas Eve is celebrated more than Christmas day, and so on. So I think the actual day they gained the independence from Spain was the 18th of September, but VERY SIGNIFICANT factors contributed to this on the night of September 15th.
There are a few ways that the celebrating takes place.
One way they celebrate is by having a big celebration in the biggest main public place of meeting which is the town square, called the "Zocalo" together,--sort of reminds of you of our downtown gatherings for fireworks on the Fourth of July, but the chain of events is very different than what we are used to. They have what is called a "Grito" or their "Independence Cry" where the President each year rings the bell on top of the main government buildng in the Zocalo, in Mexico City, the capital, and then the people respond to it with a set saying. The Main government building in the Zocalo (see photo below) is usually decorated appropriately, but this year when I took the picture, it wasn't decorated for the occasion yet, and I was deeply disappointed!
Not everyone goes to the Zocalo--I did it once as a short-termer--it was kind of fun but scary at the end because people are pushing every which way to leave, or move forward or whatever they want, and I felt like I was going to get trampled, if I were to have fallen. I don't think I would do it again for that reason.
So the other way that their Independence day is celebrated is that the Believers especially will get together in their churches, which is like a celebration on a smaller scale. A Special soup of sorts called "pozole" is prepared and eaten, generally for special occasions and celebrations, and the churches will have a little program where they commemorate and remember the process by which Mexico obtained their Independence. Singing the National anthem, or other praise songs is usually also a part of it all as well. Just a time of fellowship, food, fun, and Remembering!
Mexicans are VERY Patriotic! Flags, red white and red noise maker horns, earings, clothing outfits, and other objects are sold at stands a month or two before the event. It is kind of neat to see how passionate they are about their country!
Obviously this must really be starting to mean something to me, because I am REALLY wishing I was there right now.....I am homesick right now, even though I was just there a month ago, and honestly am practically crying as I type this...maybe next year....but I still missed the centennial celebration!
I guess it is what happens when you equally love your life in both parts and two different cultures!