National Charro Day: Celebrating the Essence of Mexico
This September 14th, Mexico celebrates the National Charro Day, a festivity that is inextricably linked to the history and essence of the country. This date commemorates charrería, a sport that has been anointed as one of Mexico’s national treasures.
The significance of this celebration stems from the historical roots of the charrería in Mexico. It was in 1934 that the then President of Mexico, Abelardo L. Rodríguez, decided to celebrate National Charro Day, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Pascual Ortiz Rubio (1930-1932), who had issued a decree recognizing the charro costume as an indestructible symbol of Mexican identity.
The Distinction of the Mexican Charro
Elegantly defined, a Mexican charro is a rider who wears a distinctive outfit consisting of a short jacket, white shirt and wide-brimmed, high-crowned hat, with fitted trousers for men and long skirts for women.
It is important to note that charrería was officially declared a “national sport” during the presidency of Manuel Ávila Camacho (1940-1946). However, its status was elevated in 2016 when it was recognized by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Roots of Charrería
Charrería is a discipline that combines horsemanship with other equestrian skills and the skill of the rider in suertes charras, making it an authentic emblem of Mexican pride. Its roots go back to the time of the Spanish conquest, specifically the late 15th and 16th centuries.
At that time, the indigenous people, who used horses for their daily work, began to test their ability to control these animals in friendly competitions, giving birth to what we know today as charrería.
In the charreadas, skilled riders guide their horses from one end of the arena to the other at breakneck speed, stopping just meters before reaching the other end, demonstrating complete control of the horses and amazing balance in the saddle.
The Splendor of Charreadas
The escaramuzas also shine in this magnificent spectacle. These are groups of women dressed in embroidered costumes, bows, boots and hats, who dazzle the audience with their elegant equestrian dances, which recall the grace of a ballroom dance.
The Charreadas, also known as Charro Parties, include honors for the Mexican flag and a series of suertes charras, including the recognized cala de caballo, piales en el lienzo, coleadero, jineteo (bull and mare), manganas (on foot and on horseback) and paso de la muerte.
Today, there are more than 500 charro associations in Mexico and in various states of the United States, such as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Illinois.
National Charro Day is an invaluable opportunity to celebrate and pay tribute to this rich equestrian and cultural tradition, which is an integral part of the Mexican identity.