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What's up with Mexico's bicentennial?

May 24, 2010 |  7:03 am

Mexican revolution historical image

In 2010, Mexico celebrates two major historical markers: the centennial of the start of the Mexican Revolution (1910) and the bicentennial of the start of the War of Independence from Spain (1810). For a country that loves its monuments and sense of national monumentality -- not to mention a good party -- you'd think this would be a big deal, right?

But with just four months to go before the major celebration events in mid-September, there is almost no sense of excitement or anticipation on the ground in Mexico over the bicentenario. Could it be an overriding anxiety over the nation's current challenges, as Time magazine has mused? Or maybe people are just anticipating a hangover from a potentially poor Mexican showing at soccer's World Cup this summer?

Or could it really be a matter of superstition, that every century, a violent social upheaval ignites in Mexico?

Whatever the root of the somewhat anti-climactic countdown, there is still plenty of activity going on around the dates, Sept. 16 and Nov. 20. The federal government, which has a dynamic bicentennial website up, last week announced plans to exhume the remains of major Independence War figures buried beneath the Angel of Independence monument in order to confirm their identities.

Oh, and, Revolutionary heroes Emiliano Zapata and Francisco "Pancho" Villa are to get new beers brewed in their honor. Cheers to that?

As the dates near, La Plaza will be following any big developments related to the bicentennial countdown. Meantime, how do you plan on celebrating?

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Perhaps the most famous image from the Mexican Revolution, Villa and Zapata (center), triumphant in the National Palace. Credit: