El Día del Charro: The Day of the Cowboy in Jalisco, Mexico
In Mexico, the land of a thousand fiestas, even the cowboys get their own national holiday.
In Mexico, where there are more saints (official and unofficial) than days available on the liturgical calendar, every day is a fiesta somewhere in the country. Even the cowboys have their own holiday. El Día del Charro — the Day of the Cowboy — is observed every September 14 in the bullrings and streets of pueblos and cities across Mexico.
The holiday, which was sanctioned by President Abeladerdo Rodríguez in 1934, arrives the day before the nation’s Independence Day eve celebrations, which take up not one but two (and sometimes three) days, so it’s often rolled into the week’s fiestas patrias. For the cowboys, it’s a chance to turn a two-day weekend into three, even if it falls in the middle of the week. (Remember that in Mexico, most people work Saturdays and only get one day off a week.)
In Ajijic, though, the Day of the Cowboy is always observed the Sunday before Independence Day. The day starts with a specially themed mass at the reasonable hour of 11:00 a.m., when one-by-one or in small groups the cowboys begin to trickle in from their houses throughout the pueblo.
While the mass goes on, a loudspeaker carries the priest’s words to the cowboys who have gathered on their horses in the courtyard. Then there’s a traditional desfile parade through the town and when it’s over, everyone ends up at the bullring for lunch and an afternoon of games, competitions, drinking and socializing between cowboys.