Two hundred and sixty-five

“It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees” – Emiliano Zapata

Mexican Revolution Day

There was a plethora of holidays to choose from today.  As I was talking to a co-worker (yep, I’m finally feeling good enough to be back at work, although I feel like I ran a marathon as my body is not used to anything other than resting), he said I had to pick the holiday with the most excitement, drama, and blood and gore.  So, the only option had to be the Revolución mexicana.

Collage of the Mexican Revolution

Often categorized as one of the greatest upheavels of the 20th century, the Mexican Revolution began in 1910 as an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against dictator Porfirio Díaz, who had been in power for over 30 years with military rule.   An important sociopolitical event in Mexico, the Revolution turned from a revolt against the established order to a multi-sided civil war, producing the Mexican Constitution of 1917, and triggering the creation of the National Revolutionary Party or the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held power under various leaders until 2000.  Causes of the uprisings include the brutal dictator ruling of Díaz, exploitation and poor treatment of workers, and the great disparity between rich and poor.  Historians don’t quite agree when the Revolution ended, although is is thought at least 1920, with sporadic uprisings continuing into the late 1920s.

There were many different players in the Mexican Revolution, too many to all name here, but a couple you might recognize: Emiliano Zapata – sometimes considered a bandit, a hero, or a true revolutionary working for the peasants; Pancho Villa – leader, prominent general and the “Centaur of the North”.

Photo by Uta Hagen

Now the Mexican Revolution is celebrated on November 20th, the anniversary of the 1910 start of the movement.  Parades, civic ceremonies, speeches, and general celebrations happen, with a larger parade in Mexico City’s Zocalo.  Mexican schoolchildren dress as revolutionaries.  As the holiday falls on a Sunday this year, banks, government offices and many businesses will be closed tomorrow for the occasion.

Finally, a proper mustache for Movember (a holiday I will be discussing later this month):

Emiliano Zapata

More information on the Mexican Revolution:

Wikipedia, “Mexican Revolution” and “Revolution Day (Mexico)”

GoMexico.about.com, “20 de Noviembre – Dia de la Revolucion”

BajaInsider.com, “Dia de la Revolucion, Mexico Revolution Day, November 20”

BanderasNews.com, “Mexican Revolution Day 2009” (with great video explaining more about the Revolution)

Other holidays today:

  • World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance
  • Universal Children’s Day/ Canada’s National Child Day
  • Vietnam Teacher’s Day

Two hundred and forty-seven

Happy All Souls Day!

A Memento Mori marks a tomb in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. "Memento mori" is Latin for "Remember, you must die." The image reminds us of our own mortality and the judgment to come. Photo © Scott P. Richert (from http://catholicism.about.com/b/2011/10/27/preparing-for-all-souls-day.htm)

All Souls Day (sometimes called ‘The Day of the Dead’ or ‘Feast of All Souls’) is a day of remembrance for those who have passed away.  It follows All Saint’s Day (November 1st) – a celebration of the glories of Heaven and those in Heaven.  All Souls Day is time to remember the dead and pray for those souls in purgatory who needs the prayer to help them achieve full sanctification and moral perfection and gain entrance into Heaven. (This is what I understand, from what I’ve read.  I am not Catholic, so if anyone Catholic would like to add more details, please do so)

There are many customs around the world to celebrate All Souls Day.  “In Mexico, relatives make garlands, wreathes and crosses of real and paper flowers of every color to place on the graves of deceased relatives the morning of All Souls. The family will spend the entire day at the cemetery. The pastor will visit the cemetery, preach and offer prayers for the dead and then bless the individual graves. “Skeleton” candy is given to the children.” (http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0199.html)

Sugar Skulls

Often an altar is made in the home with offerings of food and flowers.  It is believed that souls in Purgatory can return to earth on All Souls Day, so food is left to appease the spirits.  Sometimes a door or window is left open for these souls.  Marigolds and chrysanthemums are often placed on graves; the graves sprinkled with holy water, or in some places in the north-west of France, milk is poured on the graves.  In Italy, they bake cookies called “Ossi di Morto,” or “Bones of the Dead” – almond-type cookies (recipe at http://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost12ac.html)

Religious or not, it’s a good day to remember your own mortality and remember and honour all of your ancestors.  Happy All Souls’ Day!

For more information:

“All Souls Day” – http://all-souls-day.123holiday.net/

“Al Souls’ Day” – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Souls’_Day

“All Souls Day” – http://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost12ac.html

“All Saints and All Souls” – http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0199.html

World Vegan Day recap

It wasn’t very difficult to celebrate World Vegan Day, having been a vegan for the past month.  I continued reading some of my vegan literature.  I spoke a little to a couple friends about veganism and why make the choice of being vegan.  I also made a delicious warm quinoa, mixed greens, veggies salad that was so easy.  The vegan thing has taught me more about cooking and how to make simple ingredients taste delicious and be nutritious than any other time in my life.  I’m creating recipes now!

Warm Veggie Quinoa Salad

Boil 1/2 cup of vegetable stock (I used part of a veg stock cube in water).  Add 1/4 cup of quinoa and simmer for 15-20 minutes until quinoa has soaked up all the stock.  In a frying pan sauté mushrooms in garlic and olive oil.  Steam a handful of veggies – I used broccoli, asparagus and carrots, which is what I had in my fridge.

In a big bowl put a handful of spinach, arugula and sliced cucumber.  Add the cooked quinoa, sauteed mushrooms, steamed vegetables.  Top off with a bit of your favourite salad dressing (I used honey mustard), salt and pepper.

So delicious and healthy!