Category Archives: Mexican History

All Saints’ Day, Día de Todos los Santos

November 1 – All Saints’ Day, Día de Todos los Santos – All Saints’ Day

Dead relatives and loved ones 18 years and younger are honored on All Saints’ Day, which precedes Day of the Dead. Candles, food, and flowers are left on graves and altars. This day, like many, blends ancient pre-Columbian and Catholic traditions. It is not a state holiday.


All Saints – The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs (about 1423-24) Tempera on wood, 31,9 x 63,5 cm. Painting by Fra Angelico in the National Gallery, London. Photo:

All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows, Solemnity of All Saints or The Feast of All Saints) is a solemnity celebrated on November 1st by the Catholic Church, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Catholicism, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. All Saints’ Day is the second day of Hallowmas, and begins at sunrise on the first day of November and finishes at sundown. It is the day before All Souls’ Day.



Students’ Day, Día del Estudiante

May 23 – Students’ Day – Día del Estudiante

In Mexico Día del Estudiante has particularly important roots for education and freedom from political interference especially at the college and university level.

Students study group with teacher.   Photo:  monkeybusinessimages.

Students’ study group with teacher. Photo: / monkeybusinessimages.

In 1929 students of the now National Autonomous University of Mexico, went on strike for University Autonomy. They were forced to do this because the politicians at the federal level were using education as a political football for their own gains at the polls. There was a federal election that year and the university and education were being used to further the election of various candidates and political perspectives. The federal government had direct control over the university’s policies and curriculum.

In July 1929 President Emilio Portes Gil recognized the autonomy of education and declared May 23 National Student Day and Plaza de Santo Domingo in Mexico City was called Plaza 23 de Mayo or Plaza of the Student. The university rector, not the Secretary of Education, became the final authority for the university.

Mexican Expropriation of Foreign Oil, 1938

March 18 – Aniversario de la Expropiación petrolera – Anniversary of the Oil Expropriation


Mexico President
General Lázaro Cárdenas

The Mexican oil expropriation (Spanish: expropiación petrolera) (also petroleum expropriation, petroleum nationalization, etc.) was the expropriation of all oil reserves, facilities, and foreign oil companies in Mexico on March 18, 1938. It took place when President and General Lázaro Cárdenas declared that all mineral and oil reserves found within Mexico belong to the nation.
It is one of the Fiestas Patrias of Mexico, celebrating the date when the President, General Lázaro Cárdenas, declared that all oil reserves found in Mexican soil belonged to the nation, following the principle stated in the Article 27 of the Constitution of 1917. This measure caused an international boycott of Mexican products in the following years, especially by the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Silhouette Three Oil Pumps over orange sky. | TebNad

Silhouette Three Oil Pumps over orange sky. | TebNad

Mexican Expropriation of Foreign Oil, 1938
On March 18, 1938, Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas signed an order that expropriated the assets of nearly all of the foreign oil companies operating in Mexico. He later created Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), a state-owned firm that held a monopoly over the Mexican oil industry, and barred all foreign oil companies from operating in Mexico. The U.S. Government responded with a policy that backed efforts by American companies to obtain payment for their expropriated properties but supported Mexico’s right to expropriate foreign assets as long as prompt and effective compensation was provided.
Prior to expropriation in 1938, the oil industry in Mexico had been dominated by the Mexican Eagle Company (a subsidiary of the Royal Dutch/Shell Company), which accounted for over 60% of Mexican oil production, and by American-owned oil firms including Jersey Standard and Standard Oil Company of California (SOCAL – now Chevron), which accounted for approximately 30% of total production. However, in Article 27 of the Constitution of 1917, the Mexican Government asserted ownership of the “subsoil,” including any natural resources discovered below ground. The possibility that the Mexican political leadership might exercise its rights complicated relations with the United States until the Calles-Morrow agreement of 1928, which temporarily alleviated tensions by reaffirming the rights of oil companies in the territories they had worked prior to 1917.

Civic Holiday:
Like statutory holidays, these are observed nationally. But, unlike statutory holidays, it is not mandatory to provide employees with a paid day off or holiday pay.