Mexican National Anthem

The Coat of Arms, Flag and National Anthem are the most important symbols of Mexico. They contain in themselves a historical and ideological connotation transformed into a national identity. Due to their transcendence, they are regulated by the law of the same name.

Mexico during the XIX century fought, among other things, to reach a free and peaceful territory with a political and judicial order. The history of the Mexican National Anthem represents that stage, because accepting the Anthem wasn’t easy either; many voices and wills intervened in a desire to portray their patriotic dreams through lyrics and music.

Among the first attempts is the musical proposal of José Torrescano in 1821, which didn’t have the incursion desired in a composition of this nature. Due to this, the Academy of San Juan Letrán summoned composers for writing the Anthem’s lyrics, it is known that this process had thirty proposals which oddly resulted in the selection of Andrew Davies Bradburn, North American, with music by Henry Hertz of Austrian origin and Félix María Escalante, Mexican.

The problem with these proposals was not their musical structure, but rather the meaning it should have for the Mexican people who didn’t accept them. It was the case of these and later lyrics, like the ones by Juan Miguel Lozada, Cuban, and Kart Boscha. Between 1850 and 1853 other contributions were registered with the same goal, by Antonio Barilli, Italian, Max Maretzek, Hungarian and Ignacio Pellegrini, Italian.

In 1853 Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna again called for a convocation represented by Miguel Lerdo de Tejada. The process didn’t give immediate results either, nor satisfactory. Once the winning lyrics were chosen by the jury integrated by José Bernardo Couto, José Joaquín Pesado and Manuel Carpio, the music composed by Master Juan Bottesini was not adequate. Therefore, a new convocation was published for completing the anthem with a proper composition relevant to such beautiful lyrics.

The winner was a participant who only signed as “J.N.”, obtaining the recognition of authorship Jaime Nunó, a Catalonian living in Mexico. On September 15 of 1854 in what was then the Santa Anna Theater, the National Anthem was performed for the first time, by the Italian Opera Company, directed by one of the contestants, Master Juan Bottesini with the voice of Lorenzo Salvi and Claudia Florenti.

Due to how important and representative it is for Mexico, the anthem was officially recognized in 1943 in the Federation’s Official Diary by then president Manuel Ávila Camacho. But it wasn’t until February 8 of 1984 when the same official publication stated the Law ruling Mexico’s Flag, Coat of Arms and National Anthem.

The Law concerning the Nation’s Coat of Arms, Flag and Anthem, in its fifth chapter (pages 9-10) refers to the Execution and Publication of the National Anthem. In the ordain it indicates that the singing, execution, reproduction and circulation of the National Anthem should adhere to the lyrics and music of the version established in the document, and simultaneously strictly prohibits the alteration of the National Anthem’s lyrics or music. It also indicates that it can’t be executed in compositions or musical arrangements, totally or partially, implying the hymn must always be reproduced with its original lyrics and music, without any variation. Accordingly, there is an exception for communication media, able to reproduce it in fragments when previously authorized by the Government.

Another interesting aspect of the norm ruling the interpretation of the National Anthem in its chapter 39 Bis, allowing indigenous people and communities to perform it translated into their own language, the organism with the faculties to carry out such translation is the National Institute of Indigenous Languages, and it must also be authorized by the Government and the Ministry of Public Education.

Any reproduction or edition of the National Anthem strictly requires the authorization of these two last offices, as well as the events or shows in any media planning to speak about the subject.

The National Anthem, according to that same Law, can only be executed totally or partially in events of official, civic, cultural, school and sports nature, as indicated by article 42, as well as for honoring the National Flag and the President of the Republic. When honoring the Flag or the President it is established that it must be performed with the chorus music of the first verse, ending with the repetition of the chorus.

Artículo Producido por el Equipo Editorial Explorando México.
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