The Localist

Sundays, family and revolution

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If you ever find yourself in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico on a Sunday afternoon, you might notice there are a lot of families about. Restaurants are full with them, parks are bustling with kids running around and even a few main arteries of the city are closed for the morning, transforming into the “Via Recreativa” (roughly translated as “the recreational avenue”), where families can cycle around and enjoy the city. Sunday, it would seem, is a traditional Mexican family day.

All families are different, however, and this is a given no matter where you are in the world. To be honest, my family was never a family of recurring habits and at first I couldn’t recall ever partaking in any traditional Sunday family activities. It was only when I played some old school traditional Mexican ballads recently that a vivid memory that I had somehow buried in the back of my brain surfaced.

I was about 7 years old and my grandparents were looking after my sister and me. In the afternoon they took us downtown to the “Plaza de Armas”. The square itself is surrounded by the beautiful Cathedral and the colonial style Government Palace. In the centre of the Plaza de Armas stands a beautiful French “Art Nouveau” kiosk/rotunda where the state band performs traditional Mexican music till night fall, from Mariachis and Boleros to Huapangos.

Even with a delicious toffee apple in hand, it wasn’t long before my 7-year old self got a little bored and distracted. I do remember, however, standing in the middle of the crowd and looking back at Government Palace, with its huge white clock right at the top. My granddad noticed that I was captivated by it and pointed out to me a tiny little hole right down at the bottom of the clock’s face. He said that during the revolution Pancho Villa’s* army was standing right where we were and that one of his colonels fired his revolver at the clock – and the city woke up to revolution.

I have always loved this story and as a young kid it sparked my imagination and curiosity about Mexican history. Today I feel lucky to have come from a country where at least one of my Sunday family memories is entwined with the incredible history of my country, its revolution and Mr. Pancho Villa himself.

*Pancho Villa is a national hero. He was a rebel and a revolutionary who wouldn’t hesitate to shoot whoever opposed social justice. He was an incredibly brave man and a great tactician and despite his ruthlessness he had a sweet, tender and noble side to him that some describe as a childlike innocence. You can almost feel this when you look at his picture. I believe the majority of Mexicans have a spirit like his – rebels to the core with a childlike noble heart.

MEET THE LOCAL: ROMMEL CESEÑA

Si alguna vez se encuentran en Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico en un Domingo por la tarde, tal vez se den cuenta de la cantidad de familias paseando a su alrededor. Los restaurantes están llenos, Niños corriendo por los parques de la ciudad e incluso algunas de las vías principales de la ciudad se cierran y la vía recreativa da la bienvenida a multitudes de familias para que salgan en sus bicicletas y disfruten de la ciudad. Al pensarlo bien pareciera que los Domingos son por tradición el día Mexicano de la familia.

Claro que todas las familias son diferentes, y esto es verdad en cualquier parte del mundo. Para serles honesto, mi familia nunca ha sido una familia de hábitos recurrentes y al principio me costo trabajo recordar algún momento en particular de algún domingo familiar. Pero fue cuando un día me puse a escuchar unas cuantas baladas Mexicanas que vívidamente un viejo recuerdo salió a la superficie.

Fue hace 7 anos en un día que mis abuelos nos cuidaban a mi y a mi hermana. por la tarde nos llevaron a la plaza de armas. La plaza, rodeada por La Catedral y el palacio de gobierno de la ciudad, es una plaza de la época colonial y en el centro tiene un quiosco “Art Noveau” francés hermoso donde la Banda del Estado toca música tradicional Mexicana hasta el anochecer, desde Mariachis y Boleros hasta Huapangos.

Incluso con una manzana garapiñada en la mano, al pequeno “yo” de 7 anos, no le tomo mucho tiempo para aburrirse y distraerse. Pero me acuerdo perfectamente estar parado en medio de la gente y viendo hacia el palacio de Gobierno con su enorme reloj blanco. Mi abuelo dandose cuenta de lo que había llamado mi atención, señalo y apunto directamente a un pequeño orificio en la parte de abajo de la cara del reloj. Me contó que durante la Revolución Mexicana, el ejercito de Pancho Villa estaba parado justo donde el y yo estábamos parados y que uno de sus coroneles disparo al reloj para despertar a la gente a la revolución.

Siempre me ha gustado esta historia y de pequeno desperto mi imaginación y mi curiosidad por la historia Mexicana. Hoy me siento muy afortunado de venir de un lugar en donde al menos uno de mis recuerdos de un domingo familiar este entrelazado con la increíble historia de mi país, su revolución y el mismísimo Pancho Villa.

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