Culture

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Mexico’s ‘El Viejo’ Traditions That Ring In The New Year

Celebrating the new year in Veracruz, is a time for young people in towns across the coastal Mexican state, to dress up as “viejitos“ or senior citizens, and take to the streets to ask for “aguinaldos” and celebrate a tradition called El Viejo (The Old Man), which is believed to date back to 1875. Here’ what the tradition is all about.

A lively end of year tradition, typical of Veracruz. 

In the state capital, the youngsters parade through the streets to the sound of drums and trumpets to ask for money from drivers and pedestrians they pass along the way. In Veracruz’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, young men are the ones who don the costumes of both men and women to dance in the streets for a few coins.

 Typical of ’El Istmo de Tehuantepec’  El Viejo started in 1875 in the Port of Veracruz as a social protest by workers.

 It is said that that the tradition first startred when workers clanked cans and banged on loud drums, asking for Christmas bonuses, called “aguinaldos” in Mexico, outside the home of a rich factory owner who was celebrating his Christmas Eve dinner.

‘El viejo’ was originally inspired by a Korean immigrant who settled in Veracruz.

The tradition lost it’s political aspects and became more what it is today when a Korean man who lived in Veracruz dressed up like the  ‘viejito’ representing the old year in a Japanese almanac that he had. He would parade through the streets on the last day of the year followed by a little child representing the New Year, along with a noisy group of people playing guitars and  güiros, banging pans or setting off  cohetes and singing the following verses asking for their  aguinaldo:

Una limosna  para este pobre viejo, una limosna para este pobre viejo, que ha dejado hijos, que ha dejado hijos, para este año nuevo.

An alm  for this poor old man, An alm for this poor old man, who has left children, who has left children, for this New Year.

Nowadays, the Old Man is usually accompanied by an Old Woman.

The woman carries a baby doll—and the actors are usually university students dressed up with incredible masks and old clothes. They all stop by every store in downtown Xalapa asking for their aguinaldos. It’s a fun tradition where you gladly give your loose  pesos and tostones (50 centavo coin) to this happy crowd ushering in the New Year.

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Viva Mexico Is Trending On Twitter Proving That Mexico Is More Than Just A Country

Culture

Viva Mexico Is Trending On Twitter Proving That Mexico Is More Than Just A Country

Carlos Vivas / Getty Images

It is Mexico’s Independence Day and that means that Mexicans around the world are honoring their roots. Twitter is buzzing with people who might not be in Mexico but they will forever have Mexico in their hearts. Here are just a few of the loving messages from people who are Mexican through and through.

Viva Mexico is trending on social media and the tweets are filled with love and passion for the country.

Mexico received its independence from Spain on September 16, 1810 and since then the day has been marked with celebration. The day is marked with parties of pride and culture no matter where you are in the world.

Mexicans everywhere are letting their Mexican flag fly.

Tbh, who doesn’t want to be Mexican to enjoy the day of puro pinche pride? The celebration for Mexican Independence Day starts on Sept. 15 with El Grito. The tradition is that the president of Mexico stands on the balcony on Sept. 15 at 11 p.m. and rings the same church bell that Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang in 1810 to trigger the Mexican Revolution.

People are loving all of the celebrations for their homeland.

The original El Grito took place in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato in 1810. While most El Grito celebrations take place at the National Palace, some presidents, especially on their last year, celebrate El Grito in the town where it originated.

Honestly, no one celebrates their independence day like Mexico and we love them for it.

¡Viva Mexico! Mexico lindo y querido. How are you celebrating the Mexican Independence Day this year? Show us what you have planned.

READ: Many Mexicans Are Calling Out Fragile Masculinity As Some Continue To Protest A Controversial Zapata Painting

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Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Things That Matter

Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Just when you thought humanity has failed us, someone steps up and shows the world that the generosity of the human spirit is alive and well. 

Last week, a post on Reddit went viral of a group of volunteer firefighters from Guanajuato, Mexico who traveled to the city of Ashland, Oregon to help fight the wildfires that are blazing across the western state.

The fire department is called Heroico Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios, the Heroic Volunteer Fire Department, in English.

The two towns have had a “sister city” relationship for over 50 years. Sister-city relationships are meant to “promote peace and understanding through exchanges that focus on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development”.

The internet swiftly erupted into comments praising the volunteer firefighters for their bravery and comradery. “Mexico also sent relief during Katrina. Mexico and Canada are our best allies, always there for us regardless of the politics,” one commenter said. Another chimed in: “Welcome to Oregon, amigos. Mantenga una bota en el quemado.”

The troop of men who traveled from Mexico to the United States were identified as Captain Aldo Iván Ruiz, Captain Juan Armando Alvarez Villegas, Sargent Jorge Luis Anguiano Jasso, Sargent Luis Alfonso Campos Martínez and Miguel Ángel Hernández Lara. They were accompanied by the mayor of Guanajuato, Alejandro Navarro.

“We began the relief work,” Navarro wrote on Twitter. “Very moved by the terrible impact of the fire on families and their homes.”

The Oregon wildfires are just one of the many that are blazing down the West Coast of the United States, taking people’s homes, land, and sometimes, their lives. In more than 1 million acres have burned and two dozen fires are still raging.

“Almost every year since becoming governor, I’ve witnessed historic fire seasons,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently said at a press conference. “Yet this is proving to be an unprecedented and significant fire event for our state.”

Experts are hypothesizing that these unprecedented fires are further evidence of the toll man-made climate change is having on the environment. 

via Getty Images

“I can’t think of any time over the last 100 years where we’ve had serial fire outbreaks, four years running,” said fire historian Stephen Pyne to the Washington Post. “That I can find no record of happening before,” he added. “That is the big switch; that is the phase change.”

Regardless of what has caused the fires, the bravery of these firefighters is worth commendable. Their actions are further proof that borders cannot contain the universal values of kindness, altruism, and brotherhood.

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