Saturday, September 17, 2011

¡Viva México!

September 16th is Independence Day in México!  Last year, Mexico celebrated its 200th anniversary.  Every year, many proud Mexicans celebrate their independence with family and friends with food, decoration, and fun!

Green - Hope, White - Unity, & Red - Blood of National Heroes

A few fun facts on how they celebrate .... 

The preparations
The planning can begin with handing out party invitations 2 weeks in advance. Other preparations include purchasing food and beverages, cooking, and setting up decorations along with tables and chairs.  

The decorations
Cardboard horns, hats, toys, streamers, balloons, flags are hung everywhere displaying green, white, and red. Costumes can range from charros (cowboys), indios (indians), adelitas (female soldiers from the Mexican Revolution) or chinas poblanas (a tradition dress of the Mexican Revolution era).  Accessories may include sombreros de paja (straw hats), paliacates (bandanas) or rebozos (shawls).

The meal
The meal can offer nachos, guacamole, refried beans, traditional sweets-mazapanes, cocadas (coconut sweets), and glorias (caramels with pecans) as appetizers followed by enchiladas, flautas, tostadas, and tacos.

The drinks
Beverages can include aguas frescas with tamarindo, jamaica, horchata or limón (lemon) in addition to some traditional drinks of tequila - margaritas, palomas (tequila and sour), and banderas (tequila, sangrita, & lemon juice). Micheladas are also popular. 

The music
Live music can often be heard from some marimberos (marimbas), drums, or mariachi.  A collection of ranchera, cumbias and corridos are common along with karaoke.

The games
Lotería, a game similar to bingo, is often played by all in addition to the traditional piñata full of candy.  Throughout the night, week, even month, fireworks will fill the sky.

Every year, the President of the United States of Mexico repeats the traditional cry for independence from the National Palace in the zócalo of Mexico City, around 11 pm on the eve (15th).  After shouting the names of independence heroes and the words, "Viva México" (Long live Mexico), he rings the bell, then waves the Mexican flag, and then sings the national anthem with a live audience of over a half a million people and many viewers watching it live on television or over the Internet. Many attend similar celebrations locally as their mayor or governor participates in the same tradition in the main plaza of many cities and towns throughout México.

The national symbols
Mexico's first flag was created in 1821 and has changed 8 times.  The current flag for Mexico was adopted in 1968 and made official in 1984. The seal has always been the same-the image of an eagle sitting on a nopal (a type of cactus) devouring a snake, which is from an aztec legend.  This signal lead them to establish the city of Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico City). The national anthem was writtten in 1853 by González Bocanegra and the music by Jaime Nunó. It was officially released in 1854.

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