America’s biggest state celebrates annually the Texas Independence Day. What event does this day mark? Why is it so important? And what was the backstage of this independence process? Read along as we offer answers to the biggest questions about Texas Independence Day, including the ones about customs and traditions.
When Is Texas Independence Day?
“Surrender of Santa Anna” by William Henry Huddle shows the Mexican president and general surrendering to a wounded Sam Houston, battle of San Jacinto.
We observe Texas Independence Day on March 2. The date is commemorative of March 2 1836, the day when the Convention of 1836 adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence. By the end of the day, Texas broke apart from Mexico and gained its freedom.
On the same date, Texans observe Texas Flag Day and Sam Houston Day, which are holidays considerably more localized. Unlike Texas Independence Day, they’re not legal celebrations and we can consider them mere special observations.
Context For Texas Independence Day
The triggering event that led to the Texas we know today was the Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836). Because of the constraints of the rapidly-growing centralist Mexican government, the colonists of Mexican Texas rebelled against authorities. Tensions between the United States colonists and the Mexican authorities had been brewing for decades. The explosion of these tensions occurred in 1935, the day that triggered the Texas Revolution.
The Texians (name given to the English speakers of Mexican Texas), however, couldn’t seem to reach a consensus on what exactly they were fighting for. A part of the rebels believed that the revolution’s goal needed to be complete separation from Mexico. Another part thought that the best solution was the return of a Constitution eliminated in 1934 which could tone down the centralist tendencies of the authorities.
The History Behind Texas Independence Day
In 1820, at a time when Mexico was still under Spanish control, a U.S. citizen by the name Moses Austin reached out to the authorities to request permission to settle in Mexico. At the time, the land was relatively empty with a low population. A short while after settling in Texas, however, he passed away and left his legacy to his son, Stephen F. Austin. This all happened in 1921.
In the same year, Mexico was finally free, having been granted independence by Spain. Austin turned to the newly-appointed government of a reborn Texas for permission to lead 300 people to the Brazos River. The terms of the agreement stipulated that the majority of the people had to be Catholics. Austin defied the conditions by leading a group that was mostly composed of Protestant U.S. citizens.
The influx of American citizens continued in the years that followed, posing a real issue to the Mexican government. After a while, there were more Americans in Texas than there were Mexicans. The first manifestation of tensions between settlers and the Mexican government took the shape of the Freedonia Rebellion from 1826. In 1830, the Mexican authorities would officially take the first steps toward putting an end to the influx of American settlers.
The decisive moment was in 1834, when Mexico would see the rise of a dictator who sought out to abolish the rebellions of the settlers. And, as they say, the rest was history.
Manifestations Of Texas Independence Day
Texas Independence Day is a core celebration in Texas and not only. The majority of towns and cities across Texas observe the holiday by throwing local festivals. These gatherings usually involve fun family-friendly activities, band music, plays, and the famous chili cook-offs. In a number of schools across the state, children gather around for sessions of storytelling. During these sessions, teachers break down the specifics of how Texas broke away from Mexico and became a republic.
Schools and employees don’t get an off day for celebrations, though some government workers do have the option to request a day off. Most schools, as mentioned before, host activities specific to the holiday. Texas Independence Day is a partial staffing day in the state.
How To Celebrate Texas Independence Day
If you’re a proud Texan living in another state, there’s definitely nothing stopping you from celebrating the freedom of your state. But since there aren’t really any parades or festivals to attend, you’re stuck making your own. Here are a few ideas on how to make your own Texan-themed party.
First things first, invite people over – it can be at your own place or it can be out to a themed restaurant. If at home, ask any willing people to come dressed as cowboys and decorate the house. Some nice and simple decorations include the Texan flag or some balloons sharing its colors. Don’t forget to play some appropriate music too, such as songs by renowned Texan artists of the likes of Dixie Chicks and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
But if you don’t have the financial support to afford a night out or some Chipotle take-out, you can take a chance and cook yourself. You can browse through this list of recipes to find inspiration for the best Texas Independence Day meals.
For any Texan, Texas Independence Day might just be the most important celebration. After all, it’s a holiday that’s strictly theirs and sometimes it just feel good to have something of your own.