Celebrating Mexican centennials – in Minnesota


“It’s going to be a very wonderful year for us to celebrate the Bicentennial of Independence and the Centennial of the Revolution,” said Ana Luisa Fajer, Mexican Consul in St. Paul. “We will showcase a modern Mexico and a mother Mexico.” 

This year marks two important milestones in the history of our southern neighbor.  Two hundred years after the Mexican War of Independence and 100 years after the Mexican Revolution, the consulate is launching a new website and a series of cultural events, planned by the consulate’s bicentennial committee, to celebrate these historic battles and connect all Minnesotans – Latino or not – with traditional and modern Mexico.

According to Fajer, March 26 will kick off the bicentennial committee’s year of events to commemorate the beginnings of these famous uprisings.  The new website and cultural events will be resources for the community to connect with Mexico’s history on the local level.


What were the War of Independence and the Mexican Revolution?

After years of being controlled by Spain, a Mexican priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, accompanied by Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, called the people of Mexico to arms in 1810, marking the beginning of the War of Independence and the separation of Mexico from Spain.  After ten years of civil war and the near-collapse of the rebel army, the people found victory in 1821 when the Army of Three Guarantees was created.  This group united Mexican insurgents and Spanish troops by “three guarantees,” founded under the Plan of Igual, which recognized independence, the Roman Catholic Church and the unity and equality of all people.  Shortly thereafter “New Spain,” present-day México, was founded and independence was won.

Porfirio Díaz served as President from 1876-1911.  During this time, Mexico was stable, experiencing economic growth and modernization, but his extremely conservative rule became unpopular.  Repression and corruption flowed through the government and México erupted with a series of revolts between 1910 and 1920 – a period known as the Mexican Revolution.

Initially these bloody battles started in opposition to the established government, but eventually turned into civil war.  After many struggles the Mexican Constitution of 1917 – which is still used today – was produced.  Smaller bursts of warfare continued in the 1920s and eventually subsided.

 “(These are) tools for everyone to know more about Mexico … about our history,” Fajer said.  “And the importance of the Mexican community here (in Minnesota).”

The different events range from visits from contemporary artists to traditional dance groups, allowing the community to connect with Mexico’s roots and latest movements.

Music of Mariachi Mi Tierra and the traditional dance of Folkloric Group México Azteca will be at the Midtown Global Market at 12 p.m. and film director Natalia Almada will be presenting her latest film, “El General,” at the Walker Art Center March 26.

Uri Camarena is co-chair of the bicentennial committee and has been working with about 20 other volunteers to plan the events. The committee is composed of volunteers including: outstanding artists, business people, academics, cultural advocates, and community leaders. 

“We are charged with creating, participating and being on the lookout for ways to present and highlight  Mexico’s rich history, culture, arts, gastronomy, music, film, etc.,” Camarena said.

 “I firmly believe that we must celebrate these events not only to promote our history and culture,” Camerena said. “But also to bring awareness to the ideals and future that we share with the U.S. as well as the many contributions that Mexicans and Mexican -Americans have made to this great nation.”