The fireworks began this morning at six. By nine-thirty, all the school children had been let out the doors early, plastic trumpets in hand--and mouth--as they walked up the street, visions of pozole dancing in their heads. Patricio and I are anticipating big, steaming bowls of it, too, later this afternoon at my mother-in-law's table. We trolled the aisles of the supermarket with her yesterday afternoon, for bags of onion, radish, lettuce and hominy, then oregano, hoja santa (Mexican pepperleaf), and small dried and ruddy chile piquín. We loaded handfuls of limes, a large head of lettuce, and a few softening avocados into the colorful mix of the cart, but didn't count ourselves done until we passed the pink mountain by the butcher's section in the back.
As La Adelita played over the sound system and an electric saw whined behind the tall, glass counters of meat, we picked at frozen chunks of pig from the square, white table in the middle of the aisle. Ears and snouts and a few pinky tongues shared company with cubes of shoulder and loin, and parts even Patricio couldn't quite pinpoint. Celia dropped a couple of kilos into a clear, plastic bag. She gave us a smile, letting us know we were ready.
Pozole and its accompaniments--diced, shredded, crumbled and sliced--grace tables all over the country this evening, filling up stomachs along with town plaza guzguería fare. It's Independence Day's tacitly official stew, sipped spicy and thick with patriotic spirit.
Today and tomorrow are both fiestas patrias, two of Mexico's most patriotic of holidays, when green, red and white become the season's primary colors. Tomorrow, the sixteenth, is the country's Día de la Independencia, celebrating the day that Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla shouted his call for independence in 1810, in the village of Dolores, Guanajuato. President Fox will repeat the cry of ¡Viva México! there tonight at eleven, leaving Mexico City's Zócalo to the crowds of López Obrador.
It was president Porfirio Díaz who began celebrating on the 15th, prepping partiers for that midnight grito with festivities that "happened" to coincide with his birthday. How convenient for him. What a great pretext for us.
After feasting on pozole in the company of Patricio's brothers, we'll dress up in costumes of all-mannered Mexican garb and take the party to cousins' houses for night of dancing and reveling and shouting ¡Viva! when eleven o'clock comes around.
Spain didn't recognize Mexico's independence until 1821, eleven years after Hidalgo's honored speech; freedom always takes so much longer than we hope. It's in the forefront of our minds this year, after an election that has stirred up the hot political brew. Not always as delicious as a pork-meat pozole, the boiling, steaming desire for the right freedom continues--thankfully--to remain a tradition, too.