Bicentenario – 200 years of Mexican independence

From my visits to Mexico I have learned a number of things about the beautiful people living there. But for me, two things really stand out... family means the world to them they love to party, a fiesta is serious business

“Viva Mexico!”, VIVA! “Viva Oaxaca!”, VIVA! “Viva la Independiencia!”, VIVA!

From my visits to Mexico I have learned a number of things about the beautiful people living there. But for me, two things really stand out…

  1. family means the world to them
  2. they love to party, a fiesta is serious business

200 years 5

We had the absolute honour of being in Oaxaca as they celebrated the Bicentenario, 200 year anniversary of their independence from Spain. The year was 2010 but it seems like yesterday, it also came back to me as September 16th is that day, which is also the date  I have posted this article.

If you have read my other stories then you will have an idea on my feelings for this quaint, little city in the hills. So to be able to share this massive celebration in the Zocalo, or town square, with the locals was an absolute privilege.

200 years 2

During the days leading up to the event we could tell it would be something special. Small street parades, filled with smiling and laughing school children became commonplace. Some children guiding others dressed in outrageously large character costumes.

Clowns, street performers and food vendors of all kinds lined the streets around the Zocalo, Music played from every corner, and the whole town had such a positive buzz about it. It was almost a sensory overload.

In the hope of getting a good spot for the evening’s celebration, and with the added desire of availing ourselves of the wares of several street vendors, we left mid afternoon from our room and strolled the few short, cobblestone streets to the town centre.

Even at this early hour the place was incredible. Decorations hung from every tree and building. It was obviously a public holiday in Mexico and the place was already filled with families.

200 years 4

It is quite a sight to behold when many Mexican families get together. The men dress mainly in lightweight, white clothes while the women add some vibrant colour to the scene. But the real showstoppers are the children.

Young girls run around laughing, wearing smaller and brighter versions of the dresses worn by their mothers, while many of the young boys proudly wear magnificent mini-Mariachi uniforms, including finely detailed Sombreros.

Of some concern were the local police in attendance, many carrying automatic weapons. As a father with a young daughter in tow I found a local that could understand enough of my very basic Spanish, and I enough of their very basic English, and asked if the armed police was a sign that the night could be dangerous.

He calmly explained that they were in place to keep any drunken partiers out of the square so that families could enjoy the celebration without incident. Once again a sign of how much respect Mexicans have for family.

200 years 3

By the time the dignitaries arrived and the speeches begun, the Zocalo was standing room only. People were singing, containers filled with foam were emptied into the air, children laughed, and we cheered with them all.

The excitement was infectious and even though we could understand next to nothing that was being said, we knew when to join in. “Viva Oaxaca” came the call from the Mayor, “Viva Oaxaca” we chanted with the crowd. “Viva la revolution” came the call, “Viva la revolution” we responded. And “Viva Mexico” he yelled and we shouted our response with everyone else, “Viva Mexico”.

Fireworks lit up the night and the party continued on for hours. The crowd slowly dissipated, fathers carrying their worn out children, exhausted from such an amazing occasion.

As we made our way back to our temporary home with our own exhausted child we felt like a part of the community. Everyone was friendly and we never felt threatened at any time, even those who had partaken in a few too many tequilas seemed to be happy drunks.

It wasn’t until we left the city a few days later that it hit me how incredibly blessed we had been to share such a special moment with these people. It’s another reason Oaxaca holds such a special place in my heart.

We have been invited back to Peru for their bicentenario in 2021 by some friends and wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Have you been fortunate enough to share in a special celebration like this?

4 COMMENTS

    • Thanks for commenting Anda. I hope to have something interesting for #TheWeeklyPostcard every week. Heading to Europe in 10 days time so that should give me some fresh ideas.

    • I have another post under the “Images” menu that you should look at Heidi. Images of more of the beautiful coloured building of Oaxaca.

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