Thursday October 19 2017

Posted by Tomas on May 02, 2015
  • The Flag of Mexico
    The Flag of Mexico

Here is a translation to English of the Mexican National Anthem or Himno Nacional Mexicano. Acknowledged as one of the most beautiful national anthems, for both its poetry and musical score the Mexican National Anthem reminds its citizens of the struggles and commitment of the populace to defend the nation from foreign invaders. 

The Himno Nacional Mexicano also known as "Mexicanos, al Grito de Guerra", (Mexicans, at the Cry of War) was the winner of a competition for the composition initiated by famous Mexican President and General, Antonio López de Santa Anna in 1853 just 4 years after his defeat in the Mexican-American War. The winner would be selected on the basis of the best patriotic theme embracing the country's culture. The point was to resurrect Mexican national pride after losing more than a third of their national territory to the United States as a result of the war. Francisco González Bocanegra was a talented poet and his fiancee, Guadalupe González del Pino continuously encouraged him to submit an entry for the national anthem (and of course the prize money and prestige)

Legend has it that she lured him into a secluded room in her parent's home and locked him in, until he produced an entry. She had selected this room of the house for the historical paintings adorning the walls. These paintings of Mexico's struggles proved the proper motivation for González and four hours later he slipped his completed lyrics out from under the door. His fiancee was delighted and immediately released him from his bonds. At the same time as the lyrical competition, a separate contest was held to create the musical score. I dare say the Rogers and Hammerstein needed to know each other to compose great musicals and music created separately from the words just didn't pan out. The following year another competition was held to compose music specifically for the lyrics composed by Francisco González and the winning score was written by Jaime Nunó. 

The first public performance of the new, unofficial national anthem was performed on Independence Day, 1854 in the great Santa Anna theater in Mexico City. The theater, by the way, was an impressive construction of President Santa Ana in a previous term in office. Built on the scale of great European opera houses it remains an impressive piece of architecture until its demolition in 1901. The Anthem remained the unofficial song of the nation until 1943, it was officially adopted and edited to its current form. 

Tradition dictates one stands out of respect and courtesy when the national anthem is played, just as in any nation. When saluting during the singing of the anthem citizens of Mexico place their right hand over their heart at a right angle, palm horizontal and thumb turned under, It is also traditional to make the salute more associated with European regimes of the last century, but it is truly Mexican. (Actually, it harkens back to the first century Roman dynasties. A copy of the words and music are kept in the Mexican National Archives in Mexico City. Feel free to sing along! 

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