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¡Viva la Fiesta! Mexican Traditions of Celebration: ¡Viva México!

Bancroft Gallery Exhibit Oct. 2017 - Feb. 2018

Patriotic Celebrations

Patriotic celebrations play an integral part in Mexican civic society. Parades, floats, and reenactments fill the main streets of Mexican towns during these annual feasts, especially on the eve of the beginning of Mexican Independence Day (September 16) and the commemorations of the start of the Mexican Revolution (November 20). As with most religious celebrations, these holidays are often marked with fireworks, traditional music, and folk dances. Other holidays observing regional events, like the celebration of the defeat of the French army outside of Puebla (May 5) or the signing of the 1814 Apatzingán Constitution (October 22), draw crowds from nearby towns.


Mexico City is at the center of all fiestas. Built on an island, it has served as the administrative and religious capital for the Mexica (Aztec) Empire, the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and an independent Mexico. It had a vast network of shrines where parishioners sought the protection of patron saints against epidemics, storms, earthquakes, floods, and droughts that plagued the city. Residents held city-wide celebrations that included pilgrimages, sermons, and parades in thanksgiving for the favors received. Civil and religious confraternities also built triumphal arches to welcome viceroys and temporary túmulos (ceremonial tombs) to mourn the death of a member of the royal family or a civic leader after independence. Until the late nineteenth century, the city remained relatively confined to its colonial footprint. But thanks to new engineering that allowed for the drainage of the lakes, Mexico City has grown to become one of the largest metropolitan areas of the modern world.

¡Viva México!

Decreto constitucional para la libertad de la América Mexicana, 1814

[Constitutional Decree for the Liberty of Mexican America]

F1223.3 M61 1814sp

Pacheco (F1232.I9 P13 1849)


José Ramón Pacheco

Descripcion de la solemnidad fúnebre con que se honraron las cenizas del héroe de Iguala, don Agustin de Iturbide, 1849

[Description of the Funeral Solemnities through which were Honored the Ashes of the Hero of Iguala, Don Agustin de Iturbide]

F1232.I9 P13 1849

Ceremonial para la fiesta nacional del 16 de setiembre de 1866

[Ceremonial Agenda for the National Feast of September 16, 1866]

f F1222.9 M35

Fortunato Nava

Oracion civica pronunciada [...] la tarde del 5 de mayo de 1868, [undated]

[Civic Oration Pronounced [...] on the Evening of May 5, 1868]


José Guadalupe Posada

¡¡El 5 de mayo!! El colosal triunfo de Mexico sobre Francia, [undated]

[May 5!: The Colossal Triumph of Mexico Over France]

BANC PIC 2010.025--ffALB, Box 3:HC-8

José Guadalupe Posada

!Viva la Patria¡: Cancion inedita del estado de Chihuahua, 1911

[Long Live the Fatherland! Unpublished Song from the State of Chihuahua]

BANC PIC 2010.025--ffALB, Box 4:HC-100

Cancionero Popular (BANC PIC 2010.025--B CN-1)


José Guadalupe Posada, El cancionero popular, [undated]

[The Popular Songbook]

BANC PIC 2010.025--B, Box 5:CN-1

José Guadalupe Posada

Gloria al ejercito, [undated]

[In Praise of the Armed Forces]

BANC PIC 2010.025--B, Box 5:GP-34

José Guadalupe Posada

Las fiestas de la independencia mexicana, [undated]

[The Celebrations of Mexican Independence]

BANC PIC 2010.025--C, Oversize Folder 1:GP-21

José Guadalupe Posada

Honor y gloria al cura de Dolores don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, iniciador de nuestra independencia, 1899

[Honor and Glory to the Curate of Dolores, don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Founder of Our Independence]

BANC PIC 2010.025--C, Oversize Folder 1:GP-20

[Protesta de “Varios Patriotas Mexicanos” en contra de la propuesta fiesta para el 4º Centenario del descubrimiento de México], 1917

[Protest from “Various Mexican Patriots” on the Proposed Feast for the Quadricentennial Discovery of Mexico]

pf F1235.P83

Carleton Beals

Mexican Maze, [ca. 1931]

[Laberinto mexicano]


Iván Escamilla, et. al.

Madre de la patria. La imagen guadalupana en la historia mexicana, 2010

[Mother of the Fatherland: The Image of Guadalupe in Mexican History]

f BT660.G8 M26 2010

Plano General de la Ciudad de México

As the population of Mexico City grew, its administrator needed tools to govern it better. In 1782 viceroy Martín de Mayorga divided the city into eight cuarteles (borough-like divisions) in hopes of controlling the pulquerías (pulque bars) and implementing a better traza (road structure) to rid the city of old alleyways and unused ditches. In 1793 viceroy Juan Vicente de Güemes, Count of Revillagigedo, ordered Diego García Conde to survey the city in order to evaluate the implementation of Mayorga’s Ordinance. This map is the product of that survey. In 1807, Manuel López López printed it (lo estampó), in collaboration with engraver José Joaquín Fabregat and artist Rafael Jimeno y Planés, who embellished the map with two vignettes showing views of the city from east and west and a cartouche with the Spanish royal coat of arms and those of Mexico City. The Bancroft Library’s copy, which was recently conserved and digitized, was beautifully painted to highlight the maps decorative features and show the thirty-two subdivisions of the boroughs.


Martin Mayorga Map (F1386.M658)


Martín de Mayorga

Ordenanza de la división de la nobilísima Ciudad de México en quarteles, 1782

[Ordinance on the Division of the Most Noble City of Mexico into Quarters, 1782]


Diego García Conde

Plano general de la Ciudad de México, 1807

[General Map of Mexico City]

G4414.M6 1807 C6


L. Castro, J. Campillo, L. Auda, y G. Rodríguez

México y sus alrededores: colección de vistas, trajes y monumentos, [1878]

[Mexico City and its Surroundings: A Collection of Views, Dress, and Monuments]

ff F1386.M4 1878