Colorful symbols of freedom
Written by Mily Vázquez Harkivi, 16.09.2019
Last September 12th, the Embassy of Mexico in Finland organized the celebration
of México’s independence. Two separate receptions were held at the crypt of the
Helsinki Cathedral: one for academics, diplomats, and other members of political
entities. The second one was for Mexican citizens and their families.
The ‘Cry of Dolores’ sparked the struggle for independence from the New Spain in 1810.
Nowadays, it is re-enacted by the President, as well as local authorities in all municipalities and diplomatic representations abroad. Originally, the cry was carried out in the city of Dolores by Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest who, in the night of September 15, 1810, armed himself with one of the holiest of Mexican symbols: the image Our Lady of Guadalupe. His plans for a rising had been discovered by the royal authorities and close to midnight he was pushed into action. According to the site Mexconnect, the priest was not only challenging King Ferdinand VII of Spain, and his representative in Mexico, the Viceroy, but also the caste system and bad government established by foreign-born officials.
"The next day, September 16, the peasants from the surrounding area responded to the ringing of the church bell. They gathered in the courtyard of the church, were Father Hidalgo inspired them with a fiery cry: “Long live religion! Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe! Long live the Americas and death to the corrupt government!"¹
The 11 years of struggle to achieve independence from the Spanish Crown ended in 1821 without a very clear idea of what the new independent country would be like. Mexico’s most important patriotic symbol, the flag, was adopted in March 1821. Its colors green, white, and red represent freedom, faith, and union². The National Anthem was performed, for the first time, 33 years later in September 15, 1854 during the independence party.³
Nowadays, Mexicans in Finland and Estonia celebrate independence in a reception organized every year in September. After the representation of the Cry of Dolores and singing the national anthem, people enjoy traditional dances, food, drinks, and other cultural exhibitions.
This year, the reduced number of Mexicans attending were not received with a handshake from the Embassy’s staff, nor a speech about state of affairs was delivered. Instead, popular articles like tortilla packages and caps were raffled among the attendants at the end of the celebration. This drastic change in protocol stems from the socialist government’s claim to be ridding the country of formalities considered “snobbish.”
By presidential (informal) decree, alcoholic drinks were also not served and instead, the guests enjoyed the traditional tamarindo and jamaica ‘aguas frescas’ (flavored drinks), favourite to the chief of the executive.
Although it was not announced nor promoted during the celebration, for the first time this year, the Institute of Mexicans Abroad will organize an event called Global Week Mexico which will run from the 1st to the 8th of November and will include cultural events organized by Mexicans around the world. The entrance to the events will be free, the program and schedule (to be ready later this Fall) will be found here. Welcome!