Constitution Day,or Día de la Constitución,is officially held on Feb. 5 to recognize the ratification of Mexico’s constitution by congress on this day in 1917 during the Mexican. In 2014,the official federal holiday is scheduled for Monday,Feb. 3,with banks,schools,government offices and many other businesses remaining closed in honor of the occasion. In addition,festivals,parades,picnics,concerts and street celebrations are held throughout the country to commemorate the document’s signing.
“Every person in the United Mexican States shall enjoy the guarantees granted by this Constitution,which cannot be restricted or suspended except in such cases and under such conditions as are herein provided,” begins the Constitution of Mexico.
At the time of its signing,the new constitution included a number of progressive social reforms,including many related to labor laws,equality and discrimination. In addition,it is important to point out that Mexico’s constitution is quite similar to that of the U.S.,including on such key points as the separation of church and state,the universal right to a free education and the right to assemble peacefully. It also limits a president to one six-year term,and forbids members of the military from running for presidential election.
Until 2006 this federal holiday was observed each year on Feb. 5,but thanks to a change in the nation’s labor laws it is now held on the first Monday of Feb. This gives many families a long weekend and allows them to spend quality time together,even if they have to travel to reach loved ones. As part of tradition,many locals take time to think back and remember the journey that has made Mexico Latin America’s second largest economy – and growing!
Mexico actually had two prior constitutions after separating from Spain in 1810,including the Constitution of 1824 and the Constitution of 1857. The current document was drafted during the Mexican Revolution,which began in 1910 and continued until 1921. In addition to the statutes mentioned above,the 1917 constitution (which is still largely in effect today,despite several amendments) forbids slavery,establishes Mexico as a unique and indivisible nation and guarantees freedom of both speech and the press.
Parades on Día de la Constitución,often include marching bands and other participants who dance,sing and perform in colorful outfits among a sea of patriotic green,white and red banners and flags adorning public buildings and streets.
Have you ever celebrated a holiday in a foreign country? If so,share your experiences with other readers in the comments section below!