Mexican State Rituals

In Mexico's secular post-revolutionary state, public space is more likely to be occupied by a political than religious ritual event. The annual public parade to celebrate the nationalization of Mexico's oil industry is a supremely important event in Jiquilpan, since this was the most daring act of the administration of Lázaro Cárdenas from the point of view of offending the United States and a major symbol of Mexico's national independence. These pictures were taken in 1982. The event has become even more poignant today as national sovereignty seems to be increasingly undermined.

Petrol Expro parade Sindicato Banner 2.jpg (34952 bytes)Oil workers carry the union banner.

Petrol Expro parade Sindicato Banner.jpg (35961 bytes)

The union's (then) eternal leaders are also paraded. Salinas imprisoned the union's leader for corruption, though his real motive seems to have been to demonstrate that the official unions could not challenge neoliberal economic strategy.

Petrol Expro parade Pancho Villa figure.jpg (29174 bytes)

Another important revolutionary symbol, Pancho Villa rides again...

Petrol Expro parade Reina.jpg (28883 bytes)

...though so does the carnival queen...

Independence Day parade Guaracha.jpg (22877 bytes)cinefilm.jpg (12396 bytes)

Independence Day parade, Guaracha, 1990 (click image for video)

Fiesta Dancing Villamar 2.jpg (21890 bytes)cinefilm.jpg (12396 bytes)

Children also play important roles in secular political rituals, as marching in the parades and performing various kinds of traditional dances (click image for video)

Return to the Society and Culture Contents Page