The photos above are of the Palacio National and the office of the Mexican president with the balcony from where El Presidente (up till now male, but that might change this year on July 1st) waved his hand and shouted VIVA! to the citizens gathered below in the heart of Mexico City. This post is to let my Kelowna friends and acquaintances know that we will be gathering on May 5 at 5 pm for drinks, and maybe a taco or three, at Fernando’s Pub for the launch of my book On Thin Ice – short stories of life and dating after 50. I consider it a milestone to get here; it just might be the start of a whole new career.
About Cinco the Mayo: the day of the victory of the Mexican army against the French in the battle at Puebla in 1862. Six years later, the French were driven out, with significant military and political pressure from the US. This is also an important day for the US and in Los Angeles, apparently, this holiday is more celebrated than even in Mexico itself, as it signifies the last foreign nation was expelled from the American continent.
It is NOT the Mexican independence Day, that is September 16. I copied from a website with an excerpt of the original text “Mexico: Biography of Power” by Enrique Krauze, Harper Collins, 1997. pp. 11 & 12:
“At 11:00 pm on that September 15, 1910, President Porfirio Díaz stood on the main balcony of the National Palace, and once again rang the same bell Hidalgo had rung in Dolores. He shouted several vivas: “Long Live the Heros of the Nation!” “Long Live the Republic!” Below him, in the majestic zócalo that, from the days of the Aztecs had been the ceremonial heart of the Mexican Nation, a hundred thousand voices shouted in reply “¡VIVA!” “(palace and balcony in the first photos).
The photo of the mural below shows the independence treaty being signed and the gathering of the various factions of the parties signing the treaty, as painted by Diego Rivera in the Palacio National in Mexico City, the same building in the photos on top. The history of Mexico is recorded by Diego Rivera in a number of exquisite murals with much detail, which takes at least a day to see all of its intricate mini tableaus and a guide to explain the history. Unfortunately, Rivera died before he could finish the complete work he set out to do.”“But why had the President delivered this grito on the night of the September 15th rather than at dawn on September 16th, when it all really began? A minor historical licence: September 15 was the Day of Saint Porfirio (a Greek saint of the fourth century) and the birthday of President Poririo Díaz. “(Abstracted from “Mexico: Biography of Power”) at http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/230-el-grito-september-15-or-16.
In the mural below by Diego Rivera we see daily life in the Aztec city as it had been before the Spanish had arrived: the life of Aztec royalty, trades people, and the common people are depicted going about their daily activities. In the right lower corner Diego painted his partner and twice married wife Frieda Kahlo as a princess. He was said to be deeply in love with her, but in the end their second time around fell apart as well, mainly because of his promiscuity. By that time Frieda had taken lovers as well, male as well as female, apparently.
The Roman Catholic church in the bottom photo was built on top of the foundations of Aztec temples a few centuries ago. After an earthquake some time ago, its foundation was damaged and it was tilting when they started digging to strengthen and restore the church, they found underneath its foundations the remains of an original Aztec temple complex; this is a dig in progress. Vast temple complexes are buried under modern day Mexico City. When the Spanish armies arrived, they destroyed all of the Native cultural icons and temples, their whole Aztec civilization, and its centre, Tenochtitlan, using the enforced labour of the local enslaved population to destroy and dismantle the buildings, also depicted in Rivera’s murals. Other buildings, including residential neighbourhoods, were destroyed by the Spanish and by earthquakes as well; more modern building styles took their place. The modern city is rediscovering what lies underneath and at several places throughout the city archaeological digs can be seen.
The archaeological site of Teotihuacan located some 30 clicks north of the city, with the temple of the moon, the sun and of Quetzalcoatl was the original site of the main religious centre of the Aztecs in that part of Mexico. The city and temple complex of Teotihuacan is depicted in Rivera’s mural below and in the photo that shows a model at the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City that also preserves many of the found artifacts that remained after looting by foreigners.
The photo right below here is the temple of the moon at the most northern point of the Teotihuacan complex and situated at the top in the photo of the model. More info can be found at http://archaeology.asu.edu/teo/intro/citymp2.htm