“Very nice moments and very sad ones”
Letter from Mexico! Independence Day and two other public commemorations made a strong impression on Estefanía González.
Nov 06, 2015
It seems like time goes by much faster here than it does at home – much too fast, in fact. Since my vacation on the coast of Oaxaca, I have been privileged to experience a number of special and important occasions for Mexico. Every year on September 16, the country celebrates its independence from Spain, with decorations in the colors of the Mexican flag throughout the country. I spent the day in a small beach town in Oaxaca named Mazunte, so I experienced a very traditional village celebration with a lot of dancing and music in the streets.
That evening, the whole town gathered on the zocalo, the main square, to start the grito (cry) together. The grito is a symbolic commemoration of Mexico’s independence, which it won in 1810 – a very impressive moment!
After my return to Mexico City, a mass demonstration was held on September 26 to mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa. Even now, a year later, there is still no trace of the disappeared, and yet their families are clinging to hope, and the country refuses to forget. Carrying signs with statements such as “It was the state” and “They took them alive, we want them back alive,” thousands of people from all generations took to the streets that day. It was a very intense and emotionally charged experience for me to be able to support the Mexican people in their struggle against the prevailing political arbitrariness and violence in their country. Many people at the demonstration approached me personally to thank me for participating. These were very nice moments, but also very sad ones.
Last weekend, the whole country celebrated Día de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead, one of Mexico’s most important holidays. Death plays a very important role in Mexican culture, and on the weekend from October 31 to November 2, the country commemorated its dead with colorful altars full of flowers, decorations, and food. Painted skulls and offerings were everywhere, in front of houses and on the streets. Definitely one of the most impressive weekends since I got here!