Día de la Bandera (“Flag Day“) is a national holiday in Mexico dedicated to the flag of Mexico. Flag Day is celebrated every year on February 24 since its implementation in 1937.
It was established by the President of Mexico, General Lázaro Cárdenas, in front of the monument to General Vicente Guerrero; Guerrero was the first to pledge allegiance to the Mexican flag, on March 12, 1821.
The date was selected because more than a century earlier (February 25, 1821), the “Plan de Iguala” or “Plan de las tres garantías” was proclaimed by Agustin de Iturbide and General Vicente Guerrero. This plan was based in three principles: “Religion, Independence and Unity”, which were represented on the flag’s colors.
On this same date, Jose Magdaleno Ocampo tailored the first three-color flag for what would soon be an independent Mexico. This flag, commonly known as the “Pendon Trigarante”, had the colors: white, green, and red in that order, arranged diagonally with three eight-point gold stars, one on the center of each color banner.
When the Pledge is recited, it is customary to salute the flag with the raised arm Bellamy Salute while speaking. When the flag is being paraded, the arm is held across the chest, palm parallel to the ground.
The emblem-shield symbolizes the Aztec heritage. According to legend, the gods had advised the Aztecs that the place where they should establish their city was to be identified when they saw an eagle, perched on a prickly pear tree, devouring a serpent.
Four things you should know about “Día de la Bandera”
1. What is National Flag’s Day in Mexico?
In Mexico, National Flag Day is a day set aside to honor the Mexican Flag. This holiday has its origins in 1935, when a Bank of Mexico employee (Benito Ramírez) set up a special honor guard to celebrate the Flag of Mexico. Five years later, in 1940, National Flag’s Day became an official holiday at the bidding of then-President Lázaro Cárdenas.
In addition to the Flag of Mexico itself, people commemorate the events leading up to Mexico’s independence from Spain and the Plan of Three Guarantees that came along with this independence. The Mexican Flag is central to these themes, with each of its three colors representing one of the guarantees and other aspects of Mexico’s freedom. (We’ll go more into detail about Mexico’s flag later!)
2. Mexican Flag Day’s Date
Each year, Mexicans honor their country’s flag on February 24, which is the date in 1821 that the Iguala Plan came into effect and the end of the War of Independence was signed.
3. The Mexican Flag Day Celebration
In Mexico, Flag Day celebrations aren’t very elaborate, and because this is not a public holiday, many people still need to go to work and school on this day. While there aren’t many Mexican Flag Day activities, some people are still able to enjoy watching the military raise a giant Mexican Flag in celebration.
If you happen to be in the country on February 24, Mexican Flag Day, expect to see the streets and buildings decorated with a sea of Mexican Flag colors.
4. The Mexican Flag – Colors and Symbolism
As you probably know, the Mexican Flag colors are green, white, and red. Do you know what they stand for, though?
Well, when the flag was first created, the meanings were a little bit different than they are today.
|Independence from Spain
|Unity and Equality
The first set of color meanings directly relates to the Three Guarantees mentioned earlier. These guarantees were that Mexico would: be independent of Spain, claim Catholicism as its religion, and live in unity and equality with each other (and with the Spaniards in Mexico).
Curious about the design? The Mexican Flag’s design features an eagle standing on top of a cactus while eating a snake. It might sound pretty weird, but it’s based on a story about Aztecs who stumbled upon a similar scene and, believing it to be a sign from the gods, decided to build their empire in that very spot.
Source: Spanish Pod 101