06 October 2013

Celebrating the Founding of Monterrey

The Fun

Right on the heels of the Independence Day of Mexico on September 16th, Monterrey celebrates its founding on September 20, 1596*. This occurred after two false starts near a spring in the center of town called, “Ojos de Agua” (where the lovely River Walk now begins). 

In honor of these two important dates, Monterrey hosts a three week cultural event called "Arts in the City." It includes lectures, educational activities, art expositions, drama, dance, and music. There are three outdoor forums where they have held drama, folk dancing and musical groups. There are dozens of indoor facilities that have had presentations, but we chose the beautiful Teatro de la Ciudad (Theater of the City) to see the building, and a Canadian performing group called “Les Parfaits Inconnus 2.” It is a combination of circus, band, and farce--it kept us smiling with the juggling, musical balancing acts, and humor. 

Les Pafaits Inconnus 2
The city was hopping with activity: folk dancing, drama, percussion, bands, symphony, balloons, gourmet hot dogs, and street vendors everywhere. We went with our dear friends the Meneses, who are always up for an adventure and make sure we are safe. 

Drama and percussion in the amphitheater outside the Theater of the City

The Flag

During this celebration period, the largest flag in Mexico is on display on top of the Cerro del Obispado (Bishopric's Hill). It is an impressive site--not only the flag, but the views of the entire city tucked tightly up into the clefts of the surrounding mountains. 

Mexico's largest flag--note the tiny people just to the right of its base.


The flagpole weighs 120 tons and is 100.6 meters tall. The flag is 50 by 28.6 meters and weighs 230 kilograms (a kilogram is 2.2 pounds!). The flags lining the walkway are flags from military campaigns or wars.  

The Bishop's residence (above) served as a fort during the Mexican-American War ( not a popular topic of conversation here) and now is a museum. The huge flag is on the hill behind this building. 

The life-size games invite you to stop and play, enjoy the view, and escape from the crush of the city for a few minutes. Since our grandchildren weren't here to play with us, we are sending them a secret message instead. 


*For more information on the history and infamy of Monterrey's colonizers, see the following links:

It is interesting that all three of these explorers were of Jewish descent--an influence that is still notable  in the culture, architecture and food of Nuevo Leon. 

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