Revolution Day

Argentina's Celebration of Independence

Figure 1: Map of Argentina
(Greenwich 2000 Limited)

 

Abstract

Argentina gained its independence from Spain with the revolution of 1810. The country formally established its independence with the adoption of its constitution in 1853. Today the country celebrates its independence with the celebration of Revolution day. This is a National holiday which is celebrated every May 25. The country closes down and the nation celebrates with parades, music and traditional food. Each town may celebrate Revolution day slightly different but there are core ideas and aspects that can be seen in all of the celebrations. In each celebration the sense of national pride and solidarity is well conveyed. The center of the town provides a place for the town to come together and celebrate its nation's greatness. Argentina has grown as a country over the last hundred years and the celebration of Revolution day provides that avenue to boost the nation's growth and its future.

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Flag  

Figure 2: Argentina National Flag
(HRW World Atlas)
Figure 3: Argentina Landscape
(Soutern Argentina Pictures Gallery)

Introduction

 In 1806 Buenos Aires was attacked by the British fleet which subsequently occupied the city. A citizen army expelled the British rule later that year spurring the citizens thought of independence. On May 25, 1810 the citizens of Argentina overthrew the viceregal government of Spain and started a provisional government. The country was divided into 14 provinces but it was not until 1853 when a national constitution was adopted which gave the country its official independence in 1854. Today, the anniversary of the revolution is a national holiday. The city of Buenos Aires holds a large festival in the Plaza de Mayo. The celebration allows the country to celebrate their patriotism they have had for their country over the last two hundred years. Revolution day is a celebration of patriotism, a love of the country and the willingness to sacrifice for it, with traditional music, food, expressing the countries ability to be a thriving nation state as an economic, social and historical force in global society.

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Context of Argentina

Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic (Figure 2.), is in the southern portion of South America , bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil and Uruguay ; on the west by Chile (Figure 1.). Argentina is the second largest country in South America encompassing an area of over 1 million square miles. Within the boarders of Argentina there are a number of diverse biomes, including mountains, upland areas and plains (Figure 3). The country ranges from sea level around the Atlantic Ocean to 21,000 feet in the peaks of Andean cordillera. The diverse land features contributes to a diverse climate. The majority of the country is in a temperate climate with conditions ranging from 10-23 degrees Celsius (Encarta, 2004). There are tropical areas in the northern parts of the country and cooler temperatures in the mountains which give rise to great skiing in the winter.

 The northern part of Argentina was part of the Inca Empire and the main population was nomadic Native Americans until in 1516, Spanish navigators were searching for the south west passage and in the process claimed the area now Argentina as part of the Spanish territories (Encarta, 2004). Colonization by the Spanish did not begin until 1535 and the city of Buenos Aires resulted. Today the country's population is made up of mainly Europeans which were stimulated by the immigration from 1850 to 1940. The high European influence has caused a large Catholic population and its is even written law that the president and vice president will be Roman Catholic (Wright, 1938) The Native Americans, Guarani and mestizos, only make up about two percent of the population now. The majority of the population live in urban areas and about a third of the population live in or around the city of Buenos Aires (Johns, 1991).

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Origins of Revolution Day

Revolution day is a national holiday to commemorate the independence of Argentina from Spanish rule. The region was first inhabited by Pedro de Mendoza, a Spanish soldier. The region remained under the Spanish rule until 1810 when the government was overthrown and placed in the hands of the people of Argentina . The formal independence of the country was established with the adoption of the constitution in 1853 (Encarta, 2004).

 

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Performance

The celebration of Revolution day is a national holiday. All banks and government agencies are closed for the observation of the holiday. The holiday is celebrated by large festivals held in the town squares. For a large period of time during the day the public transportation is free for all festival goers. The festival usually starts around noon and continues way into the night with music, food and activities. The music span ranges widely from tango and folk to rock. In Buenos Aires , the capital city, the music is provided by large musical stars of South America . Traditional food such as two-peso locro, which is a traditional stew and tortafritas are served by vendors. In many of the celebrations members of the government make appearances and speeches. The night is traditionally ended with a rendition of the national anthem (Herald, 2004).

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Artifact

Argentinian Revolution of May, 1810

Painting located in the National Museum in Buenos Aires which depicts the open assembly held on May 22, 1810 . http://uk.encarta.msn.com/

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Interpretation

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Prognosis for Revolution Day

The celebration has remained constant over the decades. There is no indication that the celebration is increasing or decreasing in popularity. Revolution day, as a national holiday, provides a permanent fixture within the culture. Every May 25 the nation takes a day to come together and celebrate its national identity (Herald, 2004).

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Conclusion

Argentina is a relatively new country still trying to establish its national identity. With the revolution of 1810 the country gained its independence and started on its path of forming its own culture and traditions. The celebration of this historical event happens every spring and allows the country to celebrate both its hardships and its growth. Revolution day is a celebration of patriotism, traditional music, and food, expressing the countries ability to be a thriving nation state as an economic, social and historical force in global society. Through the reflection on the past and the planning of the future the people of Argentina have much to celebrate and find the celebration of Revolution Day on May 25 a joyous and significant event. The celebration will continue through the centuries and be a cornerstone of cultural and historical significance of Argentina .

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Internet References Cited

    1. Argentina , Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2004

    http://uk.encarta.msn.com , 1997-2004 Microsoft Corporation

    -The website is produced by Encarta encyclopedia and gives a general overview of the country and interesting facts.

     2. Travelsur.net , Argentina History, Retreived November 10, 2004, www.travelsur.net

    -The website is produced by a travel company in an effoert to give visitors an overview and introduction into Argentina .

     3. Glenn, Amy , Argentina , Retrieved November 10, 2004, www.amyglenn .com, Copyright © 1997, Last modified: August 10, 2004

      - The site breaks the South America into four regions and describes the countries in those regions by history, geography, economy and government.

     4. Herald Staff, A day filled with music and patriotism, Beunos Aires Herald , May 26, 2004, www.beunosairesherald.com

      -The website provided back copies of the newspaper. The article was an overview of the celebration the day after Revolution Day in 2004.

     

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Peer-Reviewed References Cited

  • 1. Wright, A (Feb 1938), Argentina and the Papacy, 1810-1827, The Hispanic American Historical Review , Vol. 18, No.1. pp15-42

     2. Johns, M (Oct,1991), The Urbanization of a Second City : The Case of Rosario , Argentina , 1870-1920, Journal of Latin American Studies , Vol.21, No.2. pp3-31 

    3. Brown, J., (1986), The Bondage of Old Habits in Nineteenth-Century Argentina , Latin American Research Review , Vol 23. No. 3, pp.489-513

  • 4. Turner, Victor and Edith.(1982), Religious Celebrations . In celebration: Studies in Festivity and Ritual . pp. 201-219. Smithsonian Instituation Press , Washington

     5. Dorson, Richard M. "Material Components in Celebration." Celebration in Festivity and Ritual . Ed. Victor Turner. Washington DC : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982. 33-57.

     6. Goodrich, Carter, (1964), Argentina as a New Country, Comparative Studies in Society and History . Vol 7, No. 1 pp.70-88

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