Here’s a background on Mexican Independence Day and 5 de mayo :
16 de Septiembre:
El Grito de Independencia
by May Herz
El Grito every 16th of September is the Mexican Fiesta par excellence! On this day Mexicans all over the world celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule.
As you know, indigenous peoples were the first to inhabit what is now known as Mexico. They created great civilizations such as the Olmec, the Teotihuacan, Maya, Toltec, and of course the most powerful of all, the Aztec Empire.
After Christopher Columbus “discovered” America, the Spaniards carried out expeditions to find gold and riches from these faraway lands. In 1521, about 500 Spanish soldiers arrived in Mexico, headed by an ambitious man: Hernán Cortés. At this time, the Aztecs had built a great empire that ruled over all Mesoamérica. So the Spaniards decided to direct their attacks towards them.
The indigenous nations that were under the Aztec rule were tired of the physical and economic hardships imposed upon them by this empire. This circumstance made them think that by helping the Conquerors defeat the Aztecs, they would be better off. So they decided to aid the Spaniards.
This is how the Conquest of what is now Mexico began.
On the 13th of August 1521, Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec emperor was captured. The indigenous allies of the Spaniards raided Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec empire.
They didn’t know it at the time, but they had been liberated from one oppressor and fallen in the hands of a much more powerful authoritarian.
This was the beginning of three centuries of Spanish rule. The new colony was named Nueva España, New Spain.
The years that followed were devastating. The conquerors brought with them diseases unknown to the natives. The epidemics that broke out as well as the merciless workload imposed upon the natives dramatically diminished the Indian population. There were approximately 20 million Indians inhabiting this territory before the Conquest, and after just one century of Spanish rule there were only 1 million left!
Colonial society was highly stratified. Spaniards born in Spain, occupied the higher echelons, followed by Criollos, those born in Mexico from Spanish parents; Mestizos, the mix- blood offspring of Spaniards and Natives; Indios, Native Indians; Negros, African slaves.
Each socio-ethnic group had different rights and duties. The privileged were the peninsular Spaniards. Discontent steadily grew, especially amongst the Criollos, who were always treated as second-class subjects of the Spanish Crown. It is no surprise then, that Criollos were the spark that ignited the Independence movement.
In 1808, Napoleon invaded Spain, and decided to impose his brother José Bonaparte, as king of Spain (1808-1810).
The Criollos found in this circumstance the opportunity to seek their independence form Spain.
Influenced by the concepts of liberty, equality and democracy proposed by the French philosophers Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire, and by the war of Independence of the United States, they decided to start a revolt. It was 1810, and their plan was to start the war on the 2nd of October. Unfortunately, their plans were discovered in early September. The movement was in trouble. They had two alternatives; either abandon their plans, or move faster and start the revolt immediately. Fortunately for our country they decided upon the second alternative.
In the early hours of September 16,1810, father Hidalgo, accompanied by several conspirators –Iganacio Allende, Doña Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez- rang the bell of his little church, calling everyone to fight for liberty. This was the beginning of the Independence War, which lasted 10 years.
And this is the moment that every 16th of September is re enacted in every plaza or zócalo of Mexico, and commemorated by Mexicans all over the world.
Streets, houses, buildings and cars are decorated everywhere in the country. On every street corner there are vendors selling flags, balloons, sombreros and rehiletes -shuttlecock, all with the green, white and red, our National Colors.
Flags wave from practically every house and building.
Lighted decorations are set up in every city, the most spectacular being those of the Zócalo, main plaza, in Mexico City. This main plaza of every town and city is the place where the great 16 De Septiembre celebrations take place. People of all ages come to this fiesta, to take part in the collective gaiety!
Food is always a very important part of these festivities. Literarily hundreds of stands are set up several days before and offer the traditional antojitos, most aptly described as a variety of finger foods, Mexican candies, and punch. Punch. ponche, is a drink made of fruits that are in season: guayabas, sugarcane, raisins and apples, and such a delicious aroma!
During the evening of September 15, people start gathering in the zócalo. Many people walk around dressed in typical Mexican dress: men as Charros and women as China Poblanas, or indigenous dresses. Those who don't own a typical outfit, at least dress find something to wear in the colors of the flag.
Live Mariachi Music bands play to the delight of all present. There are also photography stands where one can have a picture taken, attired with a sombrero and atop a wooden horse!
The euphoria is collective and all are prepared to shout, yell and make as much noise as possible with fake trumpets, noisemakers and whistles!
As the evening advances, the plaza gradually fills with more and more people; suddenly there is practically no room to move. Excitement and euphoria reach a crescendo at the culminating moment when a government official arrives in the zócalo, at 11:00 P.M. to give the grito or cry of Independence. This ritual recreates the moment in which Father Hidalgo, gathered his followers in Dolores Guanajuato.
It is customary for our President
to deliver the grito in Mexico City’s zócalo. It is in this plaza, atop Palacio Nacional, the National Palace -a beautiful colonial
building where the President’s offices are located-, that the original bell
rung by Hidalgo is placed. And this is the bell that is rung
every 16th of September.
The ceremony reaches the high point when the crowd joins in proudly shouting out the names of the heroes of our Independence, to end with the exciting VIVA MÉXICO!
When the grito ceremony ends, the sky lights up with multicolored rockets that shower our hearts with the pride of knowing that we are a free and independent nation.
For those of you who may not know the difference between 5 de mayo and Mex. Independence Day, I hope that you learned something. For all you future teachers, I hope you can get a little out of this for your lesson plans.
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Cinco de mayo de 1862 - La Batalla de Puebla.
¡Viva México! ¡Viva Juárez! Viva el 5 de mayo!
The 5th of May is celebrated in the
The Mexican-American societies were formed after the Mexican-American
war (1846-1848) in response to atrocities committed by US. troops
occupying the lands annexed by the
In 1858, Benito Juárez
was elected President of the
The creditors in
Meanwhile, in Mexico City, President Juárez (a full
blooded Zapotec Indian, and a lawyer who had studied to become a priest), was
taking countermeasures: "There is no help but in defense but I can
assure you... the Imperial Government will not succeed in subduing the Mexicans,
and its armies will not have a single day of peace... we must stop them, not
only for our country but for the respect of the sovereignty of the
After reinforcements arrived, a French force of (7,000)
seven thousand set out on the (225) two hundred twenty five mile route to
In June 1864, Maximilian of Habsburg and his wife
Charlotte arrived in
Finally, Maximilian was overthrown and captured on
The 5 de Mayo is a Mexican national holiday. The
battlefield is now a park in
Cinco de mayo de 1862 - La Batalla de Puebla
¡Viva México! ¡Viva Juárez! Viva el 5 de mayo!
Los mexicano-americanos celebran el 5 de mayo,
especialmente en los estados de
Estas sociedades mexicano-norteamericanas se formaron
después de la guerra contra México (1846-1848)
En 1858, Benito Juárez fue elegido Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos para defender la Constitución establecida el 5 de febrero de 1857. Después de varias luchas internas, Juárez fue reelecto en 1861. Debido a la inestabilidad financiera, causada por la guerra mexicano-americana, el Congreso Mexicano acordó suspender los pagos de la deuda exterior durante dos años.
Los acreedores en Europa (Inglaterra, España y Francia) decidieron que la intervención sería la mejor manera de cobrarse la deuda. Francia tenía su propia agenda, la cual era desconocida por Inglaterra y España. Napoleón III, Emperador del Segundo Imperio Francés quería establecer una monarquía favorable para Francia, y asimismo, quería disolver el Gobierno Constitucional Mexicano. Sus planes de grandiosidad consistían en extender esta monarquía hasta Centro y Sudamérica para proveer de materia prima y comercio a Europa y al mismo tiempo estar cerca de la República de los Estados Unidos la cual crecía en poder después de anexar California, Nuevo México y Arizona.
Los designios descabellados de Francia fueron fomentados
y confabulados por los terratenientes plutocráticos y los conservadores de
México que temían perder su poderío y sus tierras al nuevo gobierno
Mientras tanto, en la ciudad de México, el Presidente Juárez (indio zapoteca que se había licenciado como abogado y había estudiado para el sacerdocio) tomaba medidas para contrarrestar la invasión: "El gobierno de la República...en vista de la declaración de los plenipotenciarios franceses, no puede ni debe hacer otra cosa que rechazar la fuerza con la fuerza y defender a la nación de la agresión injusta con la que se la amenaza. ...Tengamos fe en la justicia de nuestra causa... haciendo triunfar no sólo a nuestra patria, sino a los principios de respeto y de inviolabilidad de la soberanía de las naciones" (1). El Presidente Juárez declaró la ley marcial en todas las áreas ocupadas por los franceses en estado de sitio.
Cuando llegaron las tropas de refuerzo francesas, el
ejército se componía de (7.000) siete mil soldados que salieron en la ruta de
(225) doscientas veinticinco millas hacia la ciudad de México a principios de
abril con la ilusión de que los mexicanos les darían la bienvenida. Esta
ilusión fue nutrida por Juan N. Almonte, un reaccionario mexicano, y por el
Conde Dubois de Saligny, el embajador francés, nombrador por Napoleón. El
Presidente Juárez le dió la orden al General Ignacio Zaragoza de detener el
avance de las fuerzas armadas francesas en los fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe
cerca de la ciudad de
El 5 de mayo de 1862, los cañones resonaron y los rifles dispararon y más de (1,000) mil soldados franceses cayeron muertos. Los mexicanos habían ganado la batalla, pero no la guerra. Sin embargo, esta fecha es la que simboliza el valor mexicano ante una armada tan formidable.
Para junio de 1864, Maximiliano de Habsburgo y su esposa
Carlota (austriacos) llegaron a la ciudad de México para tomar posesión
Finalmente, Maximiliano fue derrotado y capturado el 15 de mayo de 1867; fue juzgado por una corte marcial y ejecutado por una escuadra de fusilamiento el 19 de junio en el Cerro de las Campanas con sus generales Miguel Miramón y Tomás Mejía.
El 5 de mayo es una fiesta nacional mexicana. El campo de
batalla es ahora un parque en
Los estudiantes de Español 103 de la mañana y de la noche
B I B L I O G R A P H Y
Adams, Nicholson B. The Heritage of
Hanna, Alfred and Kathryn. Napoleon III and
Harding, Bertita Lonarz de. Phantom Crown
Ludwig, Emil. Napoleon
O'Commor, Richard. The Cactus Throne.
Riva Palacio, D. Vicente.
Ruiz, Ramon Eduardo. Triumphs and Tragedy.
Tyrner -Tyrnaner, A.R. Lincoln and the Emperors.
Encyclopedia Hispanica. Volume M
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. What do Mexicans celebrate on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th)
Help your children create a festive poncho that will help get them in the mood for Cinco de Mayo or any other fiesta!
WHAT YOU NEED
· 1 white or off white pillowcase
· Safety scissors
· Non-toxic crayons
· PARENTS ONLY – Iron
· Paper grocery bag
· Thick yarn
· Hole punch
HOW TO DO IT
Cut along the long sides of the pillowcase so that there is only one
seam left at the top.
Cut a "v" neck out off the front of the fabric and a scoop
neck on the back. You can use your child's t-shirt as a guide for
how large you should cut the opening.
Using the crayons, allow your child to color a pattern on the front
of the fabric. Be sure that they press hard enough so that the colors
are bright on the fabric.
When they have completed coloring their design, lay out their poncho
on an ironing board. Place an open brown paper bag over the entire
front, covering the entire design. Place another pillowcase over the
paper bag. Press down over the whole poncho with a hot iron. This
will melt the crayon wax into the fabric so that it will not be easily
Punch three holes about 1/2 inch from the bottom of the poncho. One
should be in the center, the other two can be about 2 inches from
each side of the pillowcase.
For each tassel cut 4 pieces of yarn about 12 inches in length. Take
3 of these pieces and thread them through one of the holes so that
6 inches of yarn is on each side.
To form the tassle, bring each of the 6 inch pieces of yarn together
and tie together just below the bottom edge of the poncho. (see template)
· Repeat this process at each remaining hole.
· Bright colors work well on these ponchos.
FOLLOW UP FUN
Plan a fiesta and make a poncho for each child attending. You can also
make maracas and a piñata (see related activities) to add to the authenticity
of your party.
Talk to your kids about Cinco de Mayo.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates an important Mexican victory that occurred
WHAT YOU NEED
· 1 – 1/2 inch wide by 3 foot long wooden dowel
· 1 – 12 inch balloon
· 1 – 24 inch by 24 inch sheet of cardboard (you can tape several small pieces together)
· 1 – 2 inches wide by 80 inches long piece of cardboard (you can tape several pieces together)
· 3 – 8 oz. paper cups
· 1 newspaper cut into 1 inch wide strips
· 60 – 20 inch by 20 inch sheets of yellow tissue paper. Tissue should come in folded packets of 10 to 12 sheets
· 10 – 20 inch by 20 inch sheets each of red, green and white tissue paper
· 1 disposable casserole dish (available at the grocery store)
· 1 wire hanger
· 1 - 9 inch by 12 inch sheet of red felt
· 20 inches of 1/4 inch wide red ribbon
· Masking tape
· 1 - 64 oz. container of liquid starch
· Craft glue gun and at least 40 glue sticks or 1 bottle of craft glue
· Wire cutters (available at the hardware store)
· Craft knife
· One hole punch
· NESTLÉ BABY RUTH, BUTTERFINGER and CRUNCH Fun Size Bars
HOW TO DO IT
Draw a free hand circle on the sheet of cardboard. Make sure the circle
touches all four edges of the cardboard so that it's about 24 inches
Bend the 2 inch wide strip of cardboard around the edge of the circle
at a right angle. Tack it in place with masking tape as you move along
the edge. This will form the brim of your sombrero.
Once the brim is securely in place, cut shallow curves into it to vary
the width of the brim slightly.
Inflate a 12 inch balloon and use a ring of masking tape to secure it
to the center of the circle. Run 4 or 5 pieces of tape down the sides
of the balloon to further secure it to the base.
Cut a slit down one side of each 8 oz. paper cup and remove the circular
bottom of each cup.
Piece the two cut cups together to form a wide cone. Place the wider
end of the cone on top of the balloon and secure it with masking tape.
Fill the casserole dish with liquid starch.
Dip newspaper strips in the starch, one at a time. Wring excess starch
off of the newspaper by running it between your fingers before applying
it to the surface of the sombrero.
Apply strips to the surface, beginning at the crown and working down.
It is not necessary to cover the entire underside of the sombrero,
but the strips should extend over the brim and onto the underside
by at least two inches.
Overlap each strip with the next as you go along, being careful to smooth
out any wrinkles as they form.
Use the paper strips to build out the gap where the balloon meets the
brim so that it forms an even cone shape rather than a round balloon
Continue layering the newspaper strips until a smooth cohesive surface
is attained and the papier-mâché is at least 7 layers thick in all
Let the sombrero dry completely overnight.
While waiting for the sombrero to dry, remove folded tissue from the
package but DO NOT UNFOLD.
Cut folded tissue crosswise into 1 inch wide strips. (Reserve one whole
tissue sheet of each color to make the pom-pom for the stick.)
Along one cut edge of each 1 inch folded strip make perpendicular 1/2
inch cuts at 1/4 inch intervals.
PARENTS ONLY: Unwind a wire coat hanger and straighten, leaving only
the original end used for hanging curved. This will be the "hook"
that will let you hang your piñata. Use wire cutters to make an angled
cut at the other end of the hanger.
Make sure that the piñata is completely dry, and then insert the cut
end of the coat hanger through the top of the sombrero's crown. This
will pop the balloon inside.
Keep pushing the hanger until it pokes out of the bottom of the piñata.
You may have to take the hanger out, straighten it and reinsert it
before successfully piercing the bottom.
Continue pushing the hanger through until there is a 5-inch piece showing.
Bend it at a right angle and tape it to the bottom of the piñata so
that the wire cannot pull back through.
Now you are ready to begin applying the tissue paper.
Unfold the cut strips and separate them into single layers of tissue.
Start by turning the piñata over and gluing one row of yellow tissue
to the outside edge of the underside of the brim. Make sure the ruffled
edge faces out.
Overlap each row as you continue laying down the tissue. Work your way
to the center in a circular, spiraling pattern.
When the bottom is completely covered, turn the piñata over and begin
gluing yellow tissue at the bottom outside edge of the brim. The ruffled
edge should be pointing down and meeting the ruffles from the bottom
Continue adding overlapping strips of yellow tissue until you reach
the base of the crown.
Go around the base of the crown 3 times each with the cut green, white
and red tissue strips. This will form the hatband.
PARENTS ONLY: Use a craft knife to cut a 3 sided, 3 inch by 4 inch flap
in the uncovered part of the crown.
Bend the flap out towards you and fill the inside of the piñata with
candy, like NESTLÉ BABY RUTH, BUTTERFINGER OR CRUNCH Fun Size Bars.
Bend the flap back into place and tape shut with masking tape.
· Now continue covering with the yellow tissue strips until you reach the top of the sombrero.
Wind the remaining red, green, white and yellow cut tissue strips around
a 3-foot long wooden dowel. Hold the end of each strip in place with
a small spot of glue. Each section of color should be about 3-inches
When the entire stick is covered, finish the end with a pom-pom made
of all the colors.
To make the pom-pom, fold a whole tissue sheet into a 4 inch by 7 inch
Cut 6 inch long slits at 14 inch intervals along the shorter side of
the rectangle. Repeat with each color.
Wrap these strips, one color on top of the other, around the end of
the stick. Glue to adhere.
· Finish by wrapping one last section of ruffled tissue around the glued end of the pom-pom.
Cut the red ribbon into 2 – 10 inch pieces.
Use the mask template to trace and cut out two mask shapes from the
Punch one hole on either side of ONE of the mask shapes. This will be
the front of the mask.
Thread one ribbon through each hole and tie into place.
Glue overlapping layers of the ruffled tissue left from the piñata to
the front of the mask. Vary the colors to give it a festive look.
· Turn the decorated mask front over and glue the second mask to it. This will cover any tissue edges that were folded over and make the mask more comfortable to wear.
· After the sombrero is dry, you may choose to paint the surface using acrylic paints, instead of applying the layers of ruffled tissue. The hatband can still be made from ruffled tissue or you can apply bands of colorful ribbons.
FOLLOW UP FUN
Breaking the candy filled Piñata is a great party activity but you may
also want to make one to decorate your child's room.
Check our Local Fun finder to see if there are local Cinco de Mayo events
that you and your children can participate in.
Teach your child a few basic words in Spanish, such as:
You can get more cool ideas from the homepage of this one, for any holiday, just got to: verybestkids.com.