CIVIC HOLIDAYS IN MEXICO

May 2, 2013 by Rosarie Salerno

There are three classifications of Holidays in Mexico: Statutory, Civic and Festivities. This article will review the 12 Civic holidays observed by the nation. Workers may take a Civic Holiday day off, but are not entitled to be paid.

Dia del Ejercito, Army Day, is commemorated on February 19th. The Mexican Army is the combined branches of the land and air services and is the largest of the Mexican Military, aka, the National Defense Army. Mexico rejects interference of one nation in the affairs of another nation and has no foreign nation-state adversaries. The Mexican Military is only concerned in matters of issues within their own country.

Dia de la Bandera, Flag Day, is celebrated on February 24th. Since 1937, Flag Day has officially honored the current and previous flags of Mexico. As the War of Independence from Spain ended, February 24, 1821 General Vincente Guerrero declared Mexico’s independence and presented the new Flag of the Three Guarantees.

Aniversario de la Expropiacion Petrolera, the Anniversary of the Oil Expropriation, is commemorated on March 18th. President Lazaro Cardenas declared, on March 18, 1938, that all oil reserves found in Mexico belong to the nation, as stated in the Constitution of 1917. Vigorous political support from the labor unions and the Mexican population earned President Cardenas and his government strong support. On June 7, 1938 Petromex, now called Pemex, was created.

Heroica Defensa de Veracruz, Heroic Defense, is celebrated on the 21st of April, commemorates the defense against the US occupation of the Mexican Port of Veracruz in 1914. Cadets studying at the Naval Academy located at the Port fought the US Marines. Lieutenant Jose Azueta, a cadet, manned a machine gun outside of the academy on his own, causing a number of casualties. He did, eventually, become one of the fatalities of the battles which lasted for 6 months. Fifty-six Medals of Honor were awarded to the young men from the Academy by the Secretary of the Navy.

Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May, celebrated on May 5th is one of the most important celebrations for Mexico. It is not their Independence Day but, for them that day represents their valiant fight to maintain their independence from foreign invasion. On the morning of May 5, 1862, in the town of Puebla, 100 miles east of Mexico City, a Mexican army of 4,000 brave men smashed 8,000 French, well trained soldiers. The French Soldiers had the most modern war equipment of the day, under the command of Napoleon III. The victory was a remarkable feat not only because the Mexicans were armed only with machetes, sticks and stampeding cattle but, were outnumbered 2 to 1. Cinco de Mayo is an official holiday in the State of Puebla, but a civic holiday for the rest of the nation.

Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo, May 8th, the birthday of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla; who initiated the Mexican War of Independence from Spain in 1810 with the famous speech known as El Grito.

Dia de la Marina, June 1st, Marine’s Day or Navy Day, the Ministry of War created the Mexican Navy in 1821.  From 1810 through the mid 19th century, Mexico was in a constant state of war with Spain which would not recognize Mexico’s independence. Mexico’s first fleet was purchased from the USA to remove the remaining Spanish ships from its coasts.

Dia de los Niños Heroes, September 13th, Boy Heroes Day, celebrates the battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War of 1847. Chapultepec was a fortress that guarded the gates of Mexico City, it also served as a military academy. The Americans assaulted and captured the fortress, but Mexico takes great pride in the 200 cadets, some as young as 13 years old, who bravely fought to defend the gates.

Grito de Dolores, Cry of Dolores, is commemorated on September 15th. El Grito was the shout that started the War of Independence against Spain on the eve of September 16, 1810; El Grito was a speech made by Miguel Hidalgo at a church chapel in Guanajuato. There are usually great festivities with fireworks at the Municipal Building in the evening.

Consumacion de la Independencia, on September 27, celebrates the end of the War of Independence from Spain in 1821.

Natalicio de Jose Ma. Morelos y Pavon celebrates the birthday of Father Morelos in 1765, on the 29th of September. He is considered one of the founding fathers of the Mexican nation.

Descubrimiento de America, Columbus Day, October 12th; commemorates the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 149

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