So What’s With All These Little Carts With Mexican Flags?

It’s for the holiday, and we don’t even want to know that you don’t even know which holiday this is
BY: ALEJANDRA SARACHAGA

As in any other country our Mexican flag is a big deal for us. But more so here. We would not wear the bandera of the country as a swmming suit for crying out loud, and we don’t understand how you can desecrate your flag like that.

These carts with patriotic memorabilia, (OK, cheap trinkets), have come over from the mainland by one extended family to blitz us for the upcoming holidayWe even have to memorize an oath to the flag and the meaning of its colors when we are in elementary school. I love to salute the flag when my Gringa boss is around because it makes her crazy, as she equates our salute with the way the Nazis salute. But what if we had that salute first? I chose to think the crazy krauts copied us.

The current Mexican flag was officially adopted in 1968, but the basic design has been around since 1821. Our flag has changed 13 times since then. Kinda like our constitution, it’s a fluid thing.

The current flag is also used by all the ships registered in Mexico, no matter where they go in the world.

The colors originated in the Three Guarantees Army in 1821 and there are two versions. We can say that it was B.J. and A.J. (meaning before President Juarez or after).

White meant the purity of the Catholic faith, red for the merging of  Spaniards and indigenous, and green for the independence from Spain movement.

When Benny Juarez became president he changed the meaning because he also established a law which made the country secularized, meaning that no religion will be official and schools should not teach religion, but only civic principles. So the colors became to be green for hope, white for unity and red for the blood shed by the national heroes.

On September 16th we celebrate our independence from Spain and we really like to make a big deal of it, and there are many ways to do this. One, is going to the Delegación building here in Cabo or to the Palacio Municipal, (City Hall), in San José, to see the Presidente Municipal, (which we translate as mayor), come out on the balcony  and yell out loud Viva Mexico! Three times. Then he rings a bell, waves our flag like crazy, and people gathered around below make noise with whistles, clappers, voices, whatever we have handy. Horns all over the republic are honked at this precise moment. Also this is when the fireworks start. This ceremony thing with the grito, the viva Mexico yell, goes on in every big city and every little burg all over Mexico. It’s a tradition for many families to go to the town square to participate in the noise making. In La Paz, because it is the capitol of the state, the governor performs the grito.

 All this is to emulate Padre Miguel Hidalgo, the father of independence, who grabbed a Virgin of Guadalupe banner, waved it around like crazy and yelled out Viva Mexico, and calling for independence.

Another way to celebrate is to gather in someone’s house, dress up with period folk clothing, or at least wear the Mexican flag colors, bring Mexican dishes, turn the TV on, and wait until the Presidente de la República performs the grito from the palace balcony in México City.

It’s a great holiday.

So here is where the carritos are explained.

You can buy all kinds of holiday paraphernalia on those little carts that have sprung up around town. (Carritos).  Hung on these green, white, and red carts you will find Mexican flags of course, in all sizes and for all purposes, to decorate your house, your office, your car, or yourself. There are also whistles, trumpets, stickers, and even dresses for little girls. There are Mexican dolls, bobby pins, and the image of St. Jude and the Guadalupe Virgin decorated with the colors of the Mexican flag. Green, white and red, pay attention! There are also clappers, fake mustaches, necklaces, earrings, pinwheels, key chains, and more. And the prices are fair; they go from 20 pesos all the way up to 350 pesos for the biggest flag. All these items are handmade and are family businesses, mostly over on the mainland.

The little carts themselves belong to a family of around eight adult members, uncles, brothers and cousins, who bring all their merchandise from Toluca (a mayor city close to México City), by plane, costing around $75 USD. They make a good living at it, and they don’t need a special permit for this, and the authorities don’t give them hard time, maybe to be patriotic. They harass every other vendor around here.

You will see these gaily decorated carts all around downtown and outside of the supermarkets, too.

Other times of year they sell other holiday items, which means they are always employed, as nobody has more holidays than we do.