invaded three times by the United States (1846-48, 1914, 1917), and once by the French (1862-67). The US invasion of 1846 resulted in the loss of half of Mexico's territory, and was denounced as shameful by a young congressman named Abraham Linclon. In addition to invasions, there is a long history of US tampering in Mexican internal affairs, including complicity in the murder of President Francisco Madero. All of this explains a lot about Mexico's prickly reaction to any perceived transgressions against her sovereignty. In the immortal words of Pofirio Diaz, the dictator overthrown by Madero, "Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States."
Charro association. The presence of the foreign community has helped develop a fairly sophisticated infrastructure in the small lakeside pueblos. There is widespread use of cell phones, computers and internet cafes. However, rural Mexico is still all around us. Most Charros are not well-to-do owners of expensively-bred horses. I doubt that any had a dressage horse performing in the Olympics, for example. Some Charros own small ranchos, while others simply work as cowboys. They are the "real deal", and exhibit excellent horsemanship.
Spurs go back at least to the Roman Legions of Julius Caesar. Some have been found in ancient Roman military campsites in Great Britain. Spurs were a sign of rank in the Middle Ages, and when a squire was raised to the position of knight, he was said to have "earned his spurs". The large rowels of Mexican spurs are a tradition brought over from Medieval Spain.
The saddle, as we know it today, originated in Mexico and was developed by combining the features of two different models imported from colonial-era Spain called La Estradiota and La Jineta. A saddle horn is not just decorative, but also has an important practical function. When a Mexican vaquero or American cowboy ropes a steer, he quickly loops the lasso around the horn so that the horse can help bring the steer under control.
Mexico's coat of arms: an eagle sitting on a nopal cactus while eating a snake. This comes from the Aztec origin myth. During their long wanderings, the Mexica (Aztec) tribe received a prophesy that they would encounter an eagle in this posture when they had arrived at their final destination. According to legend, they stopped at an island in a large lake and saw just such an eagle and on that spot founded their capital city, Tenochitlán (today's Mexico City). Below the emblem is a portrait of Miguel Hidalgo. In US terms, Hidalgo combines the attributes of George Washington (Father of his Nation) and Abraham Lincoln (Emancipator of the Slaves).
This completes my posting on Ajijic's 2012 Independencia Fiesta. I hope you have enjoyed seeing the fiesta as much as I did attending it. I encourage feedback and if you'd like to comment, please do so in the Comments section below, or email me directly.
If you leave a question in the Comments section, PLEASE leave your email address so I can respond.
Hasta luego, Jim