Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Funerals, Festivals, and Cultural Politics in Porfirian Mexico

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Funerals, Festivals, and Cultural Politics in Porfirian Mexico

Article excerpt

Funerals, Festivals, and Cultural Politics in Porfirian Mexico by Matthew D. Esposito 2010. 288 pp. ISBN: 978-0826348838. 829-95- University' of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, N.M., (505) 277- 2346. www.unmpress.com.

Vulhe United States, the loss of politI I leaders has prompted nationMMIal mourning. In 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, all of America shut down for three days as people were riveted by images on television of the grieving widow and the fallen president's children standing near his casket. But all this national attention had been dwarfed by events that happened nearly a century earlier in Mexico.

When President Benito Juárez died unexpectedly' of a heart attack in 1872, the Mexican government declared a seven-day period of mourning. Juárez, known as progressive reformer who advanced the cause of equal rights for the country's diverse peoples and did nothing to hide his hostility' toward organized religion, led a movement called La Reforma, which aimed to replace a kind of feudal society' to a market-driven one. As tut iconic "populist" figure, Juárez s body lay in state in the National Palace while close to the entire population of Mexico City made a pilgrimage to the palace to view his body. More than 100,000 people watched the procession of Ills hearse. March 21 became a national holiday in Mexico which commemorated Juárez and his importance in the governance of Mexico. Juárez s was the last state funeral for a sitting president in republican Mexico. The author of Funerals, Festivals, and Cultural Politics in Porfirian Mexico points to this time as a watershed moment in Mexican history Esposito sees this as a galvanizing moment that created a national sensibility in Mexico. …

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