SUMMER CELEBRATIONS IN MEXICO
By Rosalía Nalleli Pérez-Estrada
Summer is here and, in Mexico, the graduations bring unforgettable moments everywhere. These days you can see gowns and elegant suits in kinder gardens, elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools and in universities. Parents, students and godparents walk along the halls and corridors of the schools, while satisfaction invades the ambiance and their happiness promotes group bonding.I don’t know if this activity is also practiced in other countries but I guess it is not. I say this because a coworker, from The United States, was telling me that in his country they just celebrate the end of high school and that one of the university. Here, in Mexico, there is always a moment to celebrate and to be happy: it is a manner to stop the time and to record beautiful moments.
Meanwhile in the streets, people are seen with presents or flowers in their hands and it is impossible to avoid remembering that group of the Scientists, of the 20th century, who proposed a scientific direction for the government and country, and who thought that positivism was the only right manner to reaffirm knowledge by following Comte´s proposal.
Here, if the child finishes kinder garden, he is congratulated by his family and at school, he dances a prom and receives presents from his people. After that, there is usually a meal at home which includes chicken stew, white or red rice, salad, and tortillas. If the family has more money to spend, they all go together to a restaurant to eat or they contract a musical group to dance, because finishing school is an important achievement for the family. The level does not matter. What matters is that a period is being finished. And, as a witness, slumped onto a chair, I sometimes wonder if the family worries how much knowledge changed the students´ life, although I believe that it is assumed that if the child goes to school, he learns. Now it’s time to celebrate.However, if we think about cognitive, socioconstructive or formative learning theories, we know that after having been for three years or more at school, the student has definitely learnt more things than those he could have learnt if he had just stayed at home. For sure, traditions, beliefs, customs, behaviors and perceptions have been shared with him at school and at home, and have both developed a new human being, with a new vision of the life and a modified world.
If it is moment to celebrate, nobody cares about that 5% of gross domestic product invested in education (or few wonder about the non-complete, invested money for educative issues). Moreover, probably few of the relatives at the party worry about those results which can be shown by OECD to the world or, there is little concern about those researchers who have criticized Mexican education results, when they say that we, Mexicans, read less than three books in a year.
In any case, it has been predicted that Mexico will become, in little time, the eighth largest economy by 2050, and, if we, Mexicans, have been deprived from better education opportunities because the minds that control this country have decided so, anyway, we have learnt how to spend our life in a happier mood than the expected one. And; while better conditions come for us, we continue trusting on our leaders as a baby trusts on his parents, with a soul freed from wickedness. We feel angry when we do not get what we expect to have, but forget everything while we dance or laugh, probably without being aware that when we laugh, we lower our stress, decrease our pains, relax our muscles, ease anxiety and tension and strengthen our relationships.
Therefore, it could be said that those colorful bouquets, the expensive presents, the delicious meals or fruit drinks all seem to help Mexicans to forget the harsh moments of violence, theft and murder that are being lived by, in several places, and that attending at least fourteen parties in a year (some people may attend more than 40!), somehow helps them to forget grief or regret and have them united, while they enjoy the life in short periods of unconsciousness while singing or hugging. This common situation of every summer shows that many times humans behave according to what they have learnt at school and at home, recognizing that education and culture go hand by hand and are influenced reciprocally, (Solana et al. 2011) and that finally, life goes on and that human beings just go changing of space and places, where to stretch out their arms and to free their dreams.
Solana, et al (2011) La historia de la Educación Pública en México. CFE
Rosalía Nalleli Pérez-Estrada