Norteamericanos who live in Sayulita know the drill: every few months or so, there is another holiday to celebrate another revolutionary moment in Mexican history. Mexico has a wild, bloodstained, and still-evolving history, with major unresolved political, economic, and social issues being worked out before our very eyes. The USA had a “successful” revolution and that was that, more or less (the civil war, slavery, women’s suffrage, and a host of other issues notwithstanding), but Mexico is still figuring things out.
This week on November 20th Mexico celebrated Revolution Day, commemorating the day in 1910 (exactly 100 years and change after Father Hidalgo shouted out the Grito de Dolores in 1810!) when Francisco Madero, a “revolutionary” from a family probably as wealthy as that of Diaz, decided he and “the people” had had enough of the decadent dictator Porfirio Diaz, and started an uprising. Recognized as the most significant sociopolitical event in Mexican history, this bloody battle went on for years, with various factions struggling for power.
Eventually, in 1917 the Mexican Constitution was produced, establishing the country as a democracy, or at least declaring it so, although the war continued to be fought, sporadically, until 1920, with flare-ups continuing for another decade. The reality of Mexican democracy, like all democracies everywhere, has always failed to live up to the ideal. There has been nothing very tidy about Mexico’s revolution(s).
That does not stop the country from celebrating each and every one of these patriotic holidays with appropriate fanfare, and, always, in every little town and big city and everything in-between, a parade! Mexicans love to put on a parade. And we Sayulita gringos love to mingle with the Mexican folk and watch, and participate. After all, what could be more fun!? All the little kids in their revolutionary campesino garb, sombreros on every head, bandoliers crossed on every chest.
Eager young men firing off homemade cannons, KA-BOOM! scaring the town dogs into canine hysterics. Serious men marching with political banners, and beautiful girls riding on the backs of flower-bedecked cars. Elegant women on horseback, prancing clippety clop through the cobbled streets. Princes and princesses, kings and queens of the parade, having their moments of glory.
These small, old-fashioned parades remind us of what it used to be like in the USA, before we all took to the sofa to watch the Rose Parade or the fireworks on TV. It’s loads of fun, watching a parade in Sayulita. It’s the real deal, not the digitized version. Come on down. Given the number of patriotic holidays requiring parades around here, you’ve got a good shot at running into one during your visit, whenever it may be. And if not, well, here are some photos to show you what Sayulita’s fine Mexican citizenry does to celebrate and honor their own revolution. One of them, anyway.
Ironic that this 1910 revolution led to the establishment of the PRI, the political party than ran Mexico like they owned it until the year 2000. Last year, after a dozen years out of power, with the election of Enrique Pena Nieto the PRI grabbed hold of the reins of government again. People suspect it may take another revolution to pry those reins out of the PRI’s hands a second time. We shall watch from the sidelines and wonder what the f—k is going on? No matter, let’s just watch the parade.