Celebrating Mexican Independence Day on the Circle

Andres Palacios
Less than two weeks after arriving to the Circle, even before the leaves started to change to fall colors, it was time (at least back home) to celebrate Mexico’s independence. I was both surprised and touched that I was able to bring a small tradition to my friends in Fourth Form.
Every September 15th since I can remember, some people in my 250-person grade would bring a small bar of face-paint to school. Green, white, and red in three horizontal stripes, representing the colors of Mexico’s flag, were perfectly divided in the face-paint that the whole grade would use. As soon as you would arrive to school, everyone would rush to find a friend or even an acquaintance who had face-paint. Hoards of people would gather around these people who, for the day, would be the coolest and most liked kids in the whole school. 

A few days before packing for Groton, I was walking down the beautiful streets of Mexico City, where I found the cheap face-paint that I quickly bought for school. I texted my friends that came to Mexico with me over the summer that I had a small surprise for them for the day before Mexican Independence Day, to which they all responded with excitement. 

Two weeks later and after an exhausting cross-country practice, all my friends and I were having dinner on the porch of the Dining Hall. I quickly pulled out my face-paint and asked them if they wanted to put it on. Soon, a similar but smaller hoard of people surrounded me asking if they could also wear the face-paint. After maybe thirty minutes, more than forty people in my form had the Mexican colors on their faces.

It was extremely nostalgic to look around and see people wearing the Mexican flag; my mind would fill with countless memories of mariachi music and Mexican candy in my old school. It was also special that my international friends took the time to celebrate this foreign holiday with me. 

We finished the day, all with our face-paint, taking pictures, and listening to Latin music in the Schoolhouse. I laughed for the whole night and truly felt as if I was home again. That evening made my start to this Groton academic year a thousand times better. My friends and I can’t wait to do this tradition again next year.