I just came back home from a trip to Toronto; my husband and I were helping our daughters get ready for the new school year at University of Toronto. We also took the opportunity to visit my in-laws, so the beginning of this month, including up to this weekend, has been quite busy. I scheduled a couple of posts to be published while I was away, but I really have to be tenacious to catch up with my writing, since in Mexico, September is “el mes de la patria” (“Patriotic month”, or “month of our homeland”).
It begins with the “State of the Nation” report by the president on September first, established as an annual event in 1917; this year was particularly important for being the last year of president Enrique Peña-Nieto’s term, and a crossroads for NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Most Mexicans are hoping for a peaceful transfer of power in December, and a positive outcome for the ongoing NAFTA negotiations between Canada and the USA, since Mexico has already reached a deal with the USA. Peña-Nieto assured the nation that Mexico remains committed to find an advantageous resolution involving all three partners, and he hopes to be signing a new trilateral agreement before he leaves office.
Next is September 13, reserved for the remembrance of a group of young Mexican cadets who fought against the American invasion in 1847. Finally, the month of September witnessed both the beginning and the conclusion of the Mexican War of Independence. The fight began with a call for freedom (“El Grito”), on September 15, 1810 at midnight; a little over eleven years later, on September 27, 1821, the triumphant arrival in Mexico City of the “Army of the Three Guarantees” (Independence, Religion and Unity) marked the birth of Mexico as an independent entity.
To celebrate in true Mexican tradition, September features a comprehensive collection of seasonal food, from the finest cuisine to the popular antojitos (little cravings); and beverages, anything from aguas frescas (refreshing flavoured water) to some specialties that will make you more than tipsy and will, no doubt, require something spicy and comforting “para la cruda” (to treat the hangover). In my next few posts, I will be sharing stories and recipes to honour, remember and celebrate Mexico’s mes de la patria.
Featured photo: A scene from the Independence Day Parade in Mexico City, by Luis Kousuke Arita (my father), September 16, 1971.