EC Rogelio Magana Shoemaker shares his thoughts on what Mexico’s Independence Day means to him as National Hispanic Awareness Month begins in the United States. This year, Mexicans around the world will celebrate the country’s 205th Día de la Independencia on September 16th.
Megan Fairbank: You grew up and worked in Mexico City, Mexico, before HBS. What would you like others to know about Mexican Independence Day? What does it mean to you?
Rogelio Magana Shoemaker: We celebrate independence day every year commemorating the birth of our country and the freedom from Spanish colonial rule. It was a hard won war that put Mexico and its people on the map. It was a time where people from all around joined forces and fought bravely for the country and the future this represented. Long story short, Miguel Hidalgo (a priest) and Ignacio Allende (a military officer) lit the fire for what was to become the fight of their life.
This war showed how Mexicans’ will and power can achieve greatness if united. It showed the resolve and strength of the Mexican people. To me, it is a great example of what the country can achieve and who we are.
MF: What traditions did you do with your family in Mexico growing up to celebrate?
RMS: A plethora of traditions exist that make independence day an amazing experience both for locals and anyone who is lucky enough to experience it. First of all, it is a great time for family and friends to get together and enjoy the occasion. Second, the food and drinks; we all eat “Chile en Nogada,” a poblano chile filled with shredded meat, fruits and spices, usually called picadillo, while drinking sips of Tequila. Finally, at night there is this event called “El Grito”. It is a ceremony that is done in every village, city and community in the country where the head of government (President, mayor, etc.) will shout patriotic words and end with the quintessential threefold words: “Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!” at the city center commonly known as the “Zocalo”.
MF: What do you plan to do in Boston to celebrate? Are there any on-campus events or celebrations?
RMS: There is a large Mexican community both at HBS and around the other colleges and universities in Boston. There will be a party at Naga, a nightclub in Cambridge, on Thursday, September 17th. Everyone is invited to join and celebrate with us!