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June 2022
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Mexico’s Bicentennial

You probably know by now that Mexico celebrates both the Bicentennial anniversary of its Independence from Spain and the Centennial anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. If there is anything that Mexico knows how to do, it’s celebrate an event. No event in the life of a family here in the Yucatan seems to go uncelebrated… quinceneros, birthdays, baptisms, weddings, you name it. It almost seems that this event is so big and so full of celebration potential, that the people in charge of planning those celebrations are paralyzed with the enormity of the event.

We say this because we are apparently not the only ones who have noticed that celebrations are not being advertised and planned in ways that you might expect. A writer for the LA Times even reports that some elements of the planned celebration were not planned well enough to be finished on time.

But here in the Yucatan, we expect that at least the traditional el Grito on the eve of September 16 will go on as usual (in the Plaza Grande at 10 PM), with even more fireworks, music and crowds than usual.

Over a year ago, the center island of the busiest glorieta (traffic circle) on Paseo de Montejo was gifted with a Bicentennial clock, a copy of the one located in the Zocalo in Mexico City and identical to ones in every capital of the thirty one states of Mexico. That clock is counting down the last five days before the beginning of the celebrations.

Many of the national bicentennial events have been going on during this entire year, including art exhibits traveling around the world and the publication of a fourteen volume study of Mexico in the 21st Century. Here in Merida, more and more flags have been going up around the city, as well as a flurry of red, green and white lights.

The most important event this week happens on Wednesday night… el Grito, the traditional cry of Viva Mexico! which will go up from the Plaza Grande sometime after 10 PM. This event is usually attended by a large but fairly subdued crowd and accompanied by spectacular fireworks in front of the Cathedral. This year, we imagine they’ll be pulling out the stops in the fireworks department, the crowds are bound to be larger and the cries of Viva Mexico! will be a lot louder.

Thursday is the official national holiday, though some businesses will be taking other days off. Some businesses we know are taking Wednesday off, and schools will be closed on Friday. On Thursday night, there will be a celebration at the north end of Paseo de Montejo, at the Monumento a la Patria. And on Saturday and Sunday, a huge concert with nationally known musicians will be held in the Parque de Las Americas (on Saturday) and at the UADY Cultural Center (on Sunday).

And this is just the beginning! The second half of the celebration takes place on November 20, when the country will celebrate the Centennial of the Mexican Revolution. It’s a great time to be in Mexico… Viva Mexico!