Bicentennial Celebration in Mexico

Sebastián Jiménez

Mexico's Bicentennial Celebration 2010

Bicentennial MexicoThe year 2010 commemorates a couple of anniversaries that are sure to make every Mexican proud: the 200th anniversary since Mexico gained its independence and 100th anniversary since its famous Revolution. It should come as no surprise that all of 2010 was proclaimed by Mexico's President, Felipe Calderon, as "Ano de la Patria" (Year of the Nation). Mexico's independence kicked off on September 15, 1810 with the "Grito de Dolores", also known as Miguel Hidalgo's call to rise against Spain's colonial government. The Revolution of November 20, 1910 began when Francisco "Pancho" Villa and Pascual Orozco led the first insurrection attack.

Mexico's Bicentennial Celebration 2010Felipe Calderon lit the "Fuego Bicentenario", or Bicentennial Fire, earlier this year in front of Mexico City's National Palace; marking the beginning of the celebration for both anniversaries and a journey the flame will set off on for nearly a year throughout all of Mexico. Mexico's 31 states and Federal District set up individual Bicentennial/Centennial commissions to prepare for the events and although each entity has its own commission, Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, was declared the Capital of the Bicentennial for obvious reasons.

The Zocalo, the main square in the heart of the historic center of Mexico City as well as one of Mexico's most iconic places, will be hosting the city's main celebrations in due time. If you happen to be wandering around the Zocalo from now until the anniversaries your attention will most likely be directed towards a giant digital clock filling you in on how much time is left before the massive celebrations begin.

Mexico 2010Besides the exuberant digital clock, the city is also preparing other arrangements: a commemorative arch on Paseo de la Reforma, one of Mexico City's main boulevards, a virtual museum and the new Mexican Children's Library. Even the Turkish government is said to be restoring a clock given by the Ottoman Empire to Mexico after the Centennial celebrations a little less than a century ago.

Other projects are being designed throughout Mexico commemorating both anniversaries, including: maintenance of the country's important pre-Hispanic sites, remodeling of 30 or so museums, the opening of new archeological sites and exhibits of Mexican art ranging from pre-Hispanic times up to more contemporary eras, among others.

Mexico's Bicentennial 2010Mexico also became a member of "Grupo Bicentenario de Latinoamerica" (Latin American Bicentennial Group) which is in charge of organizing activities between 2009 and 2011 as a number of Latin American countries are also celebrating their own bicentennials. The group is made up of ten countries total, Spain and nine Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay, Mexico and Venezuela.

A social and critical focus is what Mexico City is aiming to achieve out of the Bicentennial/Centennial celebrations. Most projects are seeking to involve young people and integrate a different approach towards the celebrations. One initiative in particular is the "Casa de America Latina" (Latin American Home) which consists of a museum constantly switching venues among all countries belonging to the Latin American Bicentennial Group, in upcoming years. The museum will be in Mexico City for a better part of 2010.

Mexico 200 yearsCommemorations will undoubtedly be taking place throughout all of Mexico this upcoming year, yet the more popular attractions will certainly be in Mexico City on the date of each anniversary. People fortunate enough to have visited Mexico during a previous independence celebration clearly understand Mexicans enjoy celebrating their sovereignty in high fashion. This time around celebrations won't just symbolize another year but another century; the celebration may just multiply by a hundredfold as well.