In destinations throughout Mexico,visitors,locals and expats alike will enjoy a variety of festivities on the Aniversario de Benito Juarez,or Benito Juarez Day,held Monday,March 17,in celebration of this former president and longtime national hero. Always held on the third Monday in March,this national holiday honors the man who resisted the French occupation,overthrew the Second Mexican Empire,restored the republic and helped modernize the country.
Born in 1806,Benito Juarez was a lawyer and politician during the late 19th century who served as president for five terms,from 1858-1872. Today,parallels are often drawn between Juarez and the famed U.S. president Abraham Lincoln,since both leaders are remembered for their firm guidance and willingness to confront major social issues,even when it led to war.
The city of Ciudad Juarez in northern Mexico is named for the beloved former leader,who is still the only full-blooded native to ever serve as president. Benito Juarez overcame seemingly insurmountable challenges during his formative years,which were defined by desperate poverty. Orphaned as a toddler,he worked in the fields as a laborer until the age of 12,when he went to live with his sister and worked as a servant in Oaxaca. It was here that Juarez learned Spanish while still in his teens,before entering the Santa Cruz seminary and ultimately graduating in 1834 from the Institute of Science and Art with a law degree.
Today,Juarez is remembered each year close to the time of his birthday on this special holiday,which is celebrated by a range of activities such as competitions,tournaments,fireworks and dances,to name only a few. As one of Mexico’s major holidays,it is customary for many businesses,banks,schools and government offices to be closed on Benito Juarez day,so be sure to plan ahead if you are going to travel or may need to contact officials on this day.