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Learn More about Mexican Revolution Day and How to Celebrate

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VIVA MEXICO! VIVA LA REVOLUCION!


A big holiday in Mexico is Mexican Revolution Day. (November 20th).


In 2010 Mexico celebrated the 200th Anniversary of the Mexican Independence and 100th Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution!

En el 2010 Mexico celebro el BICENTENARIO de la Independencia Mexicana y Centenario de la Revolución Mexicana

The Mexican Revolution took place from 1910 to 1920. It was a "constitutionalist war", basically a fight between the have's and the have not's. Pretty much everyone has heard of its most famous hero, Pancho Villa. Well - here's the story behind this holiday.

Pancho Villa was born Doroteo Arango in 1877 in San Juan del Río, Durango, in north-central Mexico. He lived there until the age of 16, when he murdered a man who had raped his younger sister and was forced to flee for his life. Not much is known about how he spent the next few years of his life, other than that he changed his name to Francisco "Pancho" Villa to elude the law.

By the time he was 20, Pancho Villa had moved northward and was living in Chihuahua, working first as a miner and then as a cattle rustler. Official government biographies list his occupation then as "wholesale meat-seller." In 1899 he returned to mining, this time in Santa Eulalia near Chihuahua. However, he soon tired of the laborer's life and began robbing banks, adding that to the list of crimes he was wanted for by the Mexican government.

In order to avoid capture, Pancho Villa took off with his group of bandit followers into the Sierra mountains of central Mexico in 1900. Over the next decade he became a legendary hero-a Robin Hood to the poor in his country, robbing the rich and sharing with the hungry masses-all the while skillfully evading the government's troops.

On November 20, 1910, the war to overthrow General Porfirio Díaz officially began when Francisco Madero escaped from prison in San Luis Potosí and declared the electoral process in Mexico invalid. General Díaz had been in power since 1876. During those 34 years, Mexico's political stability had improved. Its economy had grown. New industries were established, railroads were built and foreign investment increased. Yet, none of this made any difference in the lives of the vast majority of Mexicans. Peasants and laborers, they were poorer than ever. They were also seriously fed up with their government.

Thus, soon after Francisco I. Madero's declaration of war, Pancho Villa led his men down from the hills to join the revolutionary forces-making the historical transition from bandito to revolucionario. The charismatic Pancho was able to recruit an army of thousands, including a substantial number of Americans, some of whom were made captains in the División del Norte.

Madero's forces were successful. Díaz was overthrown and Madero elected president of Mexico in 1911. However, he was captured and assassinated by one of his own generals-a traitor named Victoriano Huerta soon after. Following Madero's short-lived victory and assassination, Villa remained in command of his División del Norte army in resistance-along with Coahuila's Venustiano Carranza and Sonora's Alvaro Obregon. Together they fought in 1913 and 1914 against the Huerta dictatorship. About this time, Villa also became a folk hero north of the border, in the United States. Hollywood filmmakers and newspaper photographers flocked to Northern Mexico to record his battle exploits-plenty of which were staged for the benefit of the cameras.

Villa's forces were based in Chihuahua, and he ruled over northern Mexico like a medieval warlord. Financing his army by stealing from the seemingly endless cattle herds in northern Mexico, he sold the beef north of the border, where he found plenty of Norteamericano merchants willing to sell him guns and ammunition. In true Robin Hood style, he broke up the vast land holdings of local hacendados and parceled them out to the widows and orphans of his fallen soldiers. Rather than use the government's despised peso, he produced his own money, and any merchant who refused to accept this "new" currency faced the risk of being shot. Executions-often ordered on a whim-weren't often carried out by Pancho himself. Instead, they were carried out by his friend Rodolfo Fierro, best known by his nickname El Carnicero, or The Butcher.

Fighting continued in Mexico until 1920, even though in 1917 a new constitution was adopted. When the U.S. government came out openly in support of the new Carranza presidency, Villa was incensed. He retaliated by raiding U.S border towns-most significantly, Columbus, New Mexico. North of the border, Villa's image plummeted. However, many in Mexico saw him as the avenger of decades of yanqui (Yankee) oppression. Despite his popularity, the combined forces of Carranza and Obregón defeated his army in battle after battle. After two U.S. Army "punitive expeditions" into Mexico in 1916 and 1919 failed to capture and conquer the "Villistas," the Mexican government accepted Villa's surrender and retired him on a general's salary to Canutillo, Durango. He was assassinated near there in 1923.

Pancho Villa is remembered with pride and respect by most people in Mexico. He led the most important military campaigns of the constitutionalist revolution. His troops were victorious as far south as Zacatecas and Mexico City, as far east as Tampico, and as far west as Casas Grandes. Because of Villa's raid into Columbus, New Mexico, and his subsequent evasion of U.S. troops, he also has the added notoriety of being the only foreign military personage ever to have successfully invaded continental U.S. territory!

In honor of Mexican Revolution Day on November 20th, here are some tasty and exciting recipes. Each honors the Mexican flag by using the country's three colors: green, white and red. Put these recipes together with grilled steak, chicken or fish and have yourself an authentic Mexican Revolutionary Fiesta! ¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva la Revolución!

MEXICAN SALSA FRESCA

This salsa is pure Mexico. It's fresh. It's delicious. It's easy to make and it's thoroughly patriotic! Preparation time is about 45 minutes and this will make about a quart.

1 large white onion, finely diced
6 large tomatoes, finely diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped 9625
3 cloves garlic, minced 9606
4 to 6 jalapeño or serrano chiles (remove seeds if you want to lower the heat level!) Chile Peppers
juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp Orange juice
1 tbsp salt

Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Cover and refrigerate for up to three days. Use with chips, on tacos or as a condiment to any Mexican dish.

MEXICAN CEVICHE

Ceviche originated in places where seafood was plentiful but refrigeration rare. This appetizer is light, low in calories and has become popular all over California, Baja and mainland Mexico because of its subtle but spicy taste. Serves 6 to 8, depending on their appetites and takes only about 20 minutes to prepare after the fish has "cooked" (one to three hours). The colors here are also 100% red, white and green!

2 pounds cubed white fish or bay scallops, raw
5 - 10 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles, diced (canned can be substituted) Chiles
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced garlic
1 avocado, diced
1 bunch cilantro, with stems removed and diced
1 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups limejuice
1/2 cup lemon juice
tortilla chips or/or saltine crackers

In a large bowl combine fish with limejuice. Cover and refrigerate for one to three hours, stirring occasionally. Fish should become quite white and scallops will lose translucent appearance. (Once this happens, you will know that the lime and lemon juice has "cooked" them and they are quite okay to eat.) Toss gently but thoroughly, making sure all fish is coated with lemon-lime mixture.

Add all other ingredients, and gently toss. Serve in a bowl surrounded with chips or saltine crackers.

TEAQUE SLAW

My friend Leslie was raised in New Mexico and then in El Centro, just a few miles from the Mexican border town of Mexicali. A wife of one of the braseros (or farm hands) who worked for her dad, passed this recipe on to Leslie's mom a number of years ago. The first time she made it, Leslie explained that it's better the second day-and my birthday was the next day-so she made it the day ahead. The problem was, by the next morning it was long gone! There were five of us staying in our La Bufadora house, and even though she made a double batch, between us, we annihilated it! This slaw (pronounced Tay-AH-kay) is that good-and it's simple to make too. Serves six and takes 20 minutes to prepare. And sí-it's red, white and green!

1 large head cabbage, shredded
1 lb Chihuahua or Jack cheese, grated
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
2 - 3 fresh jalapeños, chopped (canned can be substituted) Jalapenos
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp oregano Oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper ground pepper to taste.

Combine all ingredients and chill overnight (if you're lucky) in the refrigerator.

MEXICAN FLAG COOKIES

For dessert, what could be more perfect than red, white and green Mexican flag cookies?! Why, nothing, of course! This recipe makes about three-dozen cookies and takes about two and a half hours to prepare altogether.

2 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups butter (4 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
4 1/2 cups sifted flour
Red and green colored sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Cream butter and sugar together, beating until light and fluffy. Add in a lightly beaten egg. Blend in dissolved yeast, then gradually stir in flour. Chill dough for about 2 hours. Shape into 3/4" balls. Dip one side in red sugar, the other in green sugar, leaving a clear stripe down the center. Place on buttered cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from immediately to wire racks to cool.

 


Recipe and tips provided by Ann Hazard.

Join author Ann Hazard, as she leads you through four generations of historic Baja culinary adventure. She shares not only her family's favorite travel tales, but also the delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes she has collected and created. By the time you've cooked a meal or two and finished reading the book, you're guaranteed a lasting dose of Baja Magic. The book may even turn your perspective slightly to the South, lighten your heart and forever transform your outlook on life!


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