Posts in History & Traditions
History | Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo isn't Mexican Independence day. It is however, a day that Mexico commemorates winning the battle against the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 which happened 50 years after Mexico already won its independence (Sept 16, 1810).

So why did they have to fight this battle?

Mexico had debt that it couldn't pay due to previous wars, and the President, Benito Juarez, asked for a two year suspension to help recuperate. The French saw this as an opportunity and decided to invade Mexico to make it a French territory. There was a small army waiting for them when they arrived at the town of Puebla. Even though the French army outnumbered the Mexican army, the French army was defeated before they were able to get to Mexico City. Yay!

So why is it celebrated so much in the US?

This win was a symbol against French imperialism. The US helped Mexico push out the French for good. Around the same time of the Battle of Puebla, the Mexican Americans in the US used the victory as inspiration in their struggle with the Union during the Civil war. It's thought that if the French would have won in Puebla & the Mexico City, they would have aided the side of the Confederacy in the US.

The celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday celebrated in the town of Puebla with a festival, parade, and music celebrations. In the US you'll also see celebrations. I think this is a great time to educate and teach others about Mexican and American history. It's important to know the significance of any holiday that you choose to celebrate. Rather than just jump at the chance to enjoy Mexican food, and have bottomless margaritas, take some time to learn not only about another culture, but also US history. Doing this will help with empathy, understanding, and humanity as a whole. Our kids will have a better future that way.


TWO EVENTS COMING UP THIS WEEK.

I've partnered with XO Marshmallow this week. I have a new collection hanging in their new cafe, and I'm going to be there hanging out TWICE this week and talking about the history of Cinco de Mayo. So come with any questions or with just your sweet tooth. 

Get your free tickets!

 
Traditions | Papel Picado

If you've seen the movie Coco you've seen the decoration known as "Papel Picado" or "pecked paper". These paper banners are most commonly displayed for holidays or religious occasions like Easter, Christmas, Day of the Dead, quinceñeras, baptisms, weddings. It was breathtaking to see the whole Day of the Dead land in the movie Coco to be so vibrantly decorated with papel picado. It's not usual that I see something like that in the US.

Papel picado came about during the 19th century. It was typically made by hand using a chisel. First, an intricate design is drawn on paper and covered with plastic to protect the original drawing. To make several copies at once they stack many thin tissue paper sheets together and chisel the design out. The stack is then picked apart and hung on a string with other papers that have different designs. This is similar to the Chinese paper cutting, but rather than being cut with scissors, in Mexico they use chisel.

The art of Papel Picado is officially recognized by the ministry of Tourism and culture in Mexico. San Salvador Huixcolotla in Puebla is known as the center of papel picado, but in the 1930s the art spread to other parts in Mexico. It was in the 1960s that papel picado made it's way to the United States and Europe. Now you'll see this decoration made out of different materials like plastic of thicker paper so that it can withstand the outdoors, or be a more permanent and sturdy decoration. 


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I have a new print called Papel Picado that I'll offer this summer in a new collection. Here's a sneak peek of it. I'll be announcing a launch date soon, but until then, be thinking and planning where in your home this print would be perfect to hang.

If you're not on my e-mail list yet, sign up so you can be one of the first to know when the new collection launches. I'll also share when new events are happening, new blog posts are shared, and give exclusive promotions. So go ahead, enter your email. :-)

History | The Mexican Flag

It's so interesting to me to be diving into Mexican culture and history as research for my trips to Mexico to produce more art. I really want to help enlighten and inform others about my Mexican roots.

I didn't really pay attention in history class when I was younger, but now I can't get enough. And let's be honest, how much of American history do you remember from your school days? I'm the first to admit I didn't retain much. 

Mexico's Flag Day is approaching on Feb 24th, so I thought it would be a good idea to look into the flag's history and share with you. 

The first national flag of Mexico was created in 1821 following its independence from Spain. While there are a few other flags that were used during the War of Independence from Spain, the first official use of a flag with the green, white and red colors was used after they won the war.

Green: The first in the three stripes signifies the Independence Movement and hope.

White: The middle stripe is to acknowledge the purity of the Catholic Faith and Mexico's strong devotion to it.

Red: The vertical bar to the right is a representation of the blood that was shed for Mexico by the revolutionaries for independence.  

The coat of arms: In the center of the white stripe is an eagle with a snake in its mouth. This is to recognize the Aztec heritage of Mexico. Aztec legend states that the gods advised the people to build a city on the spot in which they saw an eagle perched on a prickly pear tree eating a serpent. This spot is now known as Mexico City today.


Here are some variations that the Mexican flag has gone through before the current design that we know today was established.

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The first National Flag is from The First Mexican Empire from 1821 - 1823. The crown on the eagle's head signifies the empire under Agustin de Iturbide.

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The second National Flag was used during the establishment of the Mexican Republic from 1823-1863, 1867-1968. You can see the crown was removed and the serpent, oak and laurel branches were added.

 
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The third National Flag was from the Second Mexican Empire from 1863-1867. The eagles in the corners were added to look like the French Imperial arms but with a "Mexican flavor" 

There have been many variations during the evolution of the Mexican flag, but these are the main ones. The current flag is the one pictured at the top. All of this is so interesting to me and if you want, you can find out more at these sites:

Historical Flags of Mexico

Symbolism of the Mexican Flag

Wikipeida: Flag of Mexico

Thanks for following along, feel free to leave a comment about something that was interesting to you. Or if you end up doing research on your own culture's flag, I'd love to learn something new so leave a comment below. 


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Traditions | Loteria

Lotería is the Spanish word for lottery. The game originated in Italy in the 15th century and was brought to in the mid 1700's. Lotería used to be a hobby of the upper classes, but eventually it became a tradition at Mexican fairs, markets, and festivals.

The game of Lotería is similar to the game of bingo, but played with a deck of 54 cards with different images. Each tabla or board has a 4x4 grid of pictures with corresponding names and numbers. 

It's a really fun game to play. I remember loving it as a child. It was a good way for my parents to teach me Mexican nouns.

 
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Once you pick your "tabla" one person selects a random card from the deck and announces it to the players by its name. You can also say a riddle describing the picture instead of just naming the image. 

The chips used to mark off your spaces can be anything from small rocks to raw pinto beans. I remember using raw pinto beans to play this game as a kid  Similar to bingo, the first person with 4 chips in a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) and to call out "LOTERIA" wins the game. 

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I recently bought a game and thought it would be a great way to teach my kids some Spanish words. However, I was a little surprised to see some of the cards in there were a little questionable. I ended up taking two of them out completely because I just didn't think it was appropriate for my kids. There's actually this guy I've been following on Instagram that just launched The Millennial Lotería. It's pretty amazing. He's taken the traditional cards and gave them a "millennial" makeover. It's hard to describe, you'll just have to check out his site. I can't wait to buy one for myself!


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Traditions | Wedding Parade - Callejonada

I was in San Miguel last year when I happened to be in the main square as a wedding ceremony had ended and the Callejonada or wedding parade was starting. Being a wedding photographer, it was instinctual for me to pull out my camera and start shooting this fun part of the day (don't worry, I made sure to stay out of the actual photographers way).  

 
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Mexican culture is so rich with traditions and celebrations. Weddings are a huge celebration where religious customs are highly regarded. The sacrament of marriage is a serious event, which is why so much thought is poured into a wedding day and the celebration is extended to include friends, family, and even the whole town.

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One tradition that is practiced in some Mexican weddings, especially colonial towns, is a wedding parade which happens following the ceremony. The couple comes out of the church followed by the bridal party and the wedding guests. There's usually a mariachi band to accompany the procession, playing lively music so the guests can stop and dance along the way. 

Joining in on the walk is a donkey beautifully adorned carrying tequila to serve the wedding group. The wedding party walks with little shot glasses around their necks so they can enjoy tequila in celebration as they walk. This is like a pre-reception filled with lots of laughter, happiness, dancing and drinking. 

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The Callejonada (wedding parade) is an amazing tradition where the whole town comes out of their homes to celebrate and have fun with the newly married couple as they head to the reception. 

I'm so glad I was at the right place at the right time to capture these shots.


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