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Mexico Comes to Blackpitts

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Mexico is a federal republic at the most Southern point of North America.  It shares its borders on the north with the United States and on the south with Guatemala and Belize. It is one of the largest Latin American countries, the fifth biggest of the Americas, with a mostly Spanish speaking populous. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated in January 2013 that Mexico could have the seventh largest economy by the year 2050. In recent years, Ireland has become a favourite destination for Mexicans and has a fast growing community establishing themselves here. This past week Dublin celebrated Latin American Week, which ran from the 25th April to the 4th May and many Fiestas’, Mexican for Festival, were held across the City.

“Cinco de Mayo” (literally meaning the 5th of May) is often misinterpreted to be Mexico’s Independence Day, but it is in fact a national day of pride that has caught on in the US. The summer celebration is recognised only regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla, where the Mexican army defeated the French on the May 5th, 1862,” The Irish Times, 16th September 2011.

On Monday the 4th May 2015 the Dublin Food Co-op and the Latin American Solidarity centre (LASC) hosted the Cinco de Mayo – Mexican Festival at Newmarket. It was a day for enjoying Mexican food, music and piñata making with the Mexican community. The festival celebrated Mexico’s rich culture, history and traditions. The Fiesta officially kicked off at 11 am and finished at 5.30 pm. The day had games for the kids, art workshops, face painting, stalls and food vendors to keep everybody going.

Los Azteca’s Mariachi Band was entertaining the festival goers with traditional Mexican music and rancheras and they sang songs on request for the many festival goers who came to enjoy the day. There was also a mix of traditional and current music from Mexico by Adrian Dazz to treat the crowds to some more Mexican music.

Merengue Dublin who had a food stall for the day said on their blog:

The day was a great occasion to share with the Mexican community in Dublin, there were talks, music, crafts, books and of course, food, delicious Mexican food. Hundreds of people tasted tacos, enchiladas, spicy picantes and more, the queue never stopped, and at all times, the centre table was full of visitors having a great time. We brought our traditional Dulce de leche, which reminded many to the Mexican cajeta (which is made with goat’s milk, instead cow’s but it’s also incredibly creamy and delicious). Besides that, we made alfajores (dulce de leche biscuits) and a yummy batch of arroz con leche (homemade rice pudding with a touch of cinnamon).”

Talks and discussions on Mexico’s anthropology, revolution and history were held throughout the day, with guest speakers Rafael Antonio Rodrigues, DCU Lecturer – Gemma McNulty, Stefania Minervino and Michael MacCaughan – an Irish Times Journalist who is based in Mexico.

The piñata raffle was a great attraction as guests had to take turns to hit the piñata to see who would win the sweets that are hidden within. Piñata making is one of the most traditional Mexican fiesta games you can play and is associated with Mexican parties. Everyone at the party gets a turn to hit the brightly coloured paper Mache, a candy filled shape icon, and game players have to be blindfolded. Whoever gets to burst it open gets the candy.

Mexico and Ireland has long existed alongside since the day the first Irish immigrants made their way to Northern America. During the famine when Ireland was still under British rule, about 200 Irish immigrants travelled to Mexico to fight in the Mexican-American War, more famously known as the Batallon de San Patricio. It lasted from 1846 to 1848. Though the Irish originally joined forces with the Americans to get US citizenship they walked over to the Mexican side, but sadly Mexico lost the war. Most of the Irish that survived the war was court-marshalled and executed thereafter. Today there is an estimated 9,000 to 600,000 Irish descendents living in Mexico. Some Irish made their way to Mexico during the American civil War of 1861 and blended in with Mexican society once again. The Mexican population is living in Ireland is of course, somewhat smaller and it is roughly estimated to be between 1,000 and 1,500.

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