Today marks the bicentennial of Argentina's independence. On the 25th of May in 1810, nationalists at the Cabildo Abierto (open town meeting) held in Buenos Aires voted to depose the viceroyalty of Spain. Political chaos followed the decision, and it wasn't until July of 1816 that independence was made official by a national congress in Tucuman. Nevertheless, Argentineans proudly celebrate this day as the beginning of their liberation from European rule.
Flag vendors are stationed at every corner in San Rafael, selling the "Sun of May." The Argentine flag was designed by General Manuel Belgrano in 1812, and features two cerulean blue bands divided by a white stripe bearing the image of a radiant sun with a human face. There are several theories regarding the iconography of the flag; some say that it represents Inti the Incan sun god, while others suggest that the blue bands are waves of Rio de la Plata. I think Belgrano was just captivated by the beauty of the Argentine sky when he came up with this design.
At noon a parade of military groups, mounted police and gauchos makes its way through the city streets.
It seems odd to us, but the policemen ride two to a motorcycle, with one cop driving the bike and the other standing upright, carrying a rifle while balancing on the back of the seat.
The traditional food for the Dia de la Revolucion de Mayo is locro, a hearty, thick stew made from squash, white beans, corn, pork sausage and beef shank. The open-air stands serve locro from large pots heated over wood fires.
Deep-fried empanadas accompany the stew. Locro is an indigenous peoples' dish adopted by Argentine society to commemorate its independence, as this South American recipe features local ingredients cooked in a traditional way. It represents a distinct departure from European cuisine.
To pair with the locro, we enjoy the Edicion Especial Ano Bicentenario
red wine produced by Bodega Santa Ana
in Guaymallen, Mendoza. This blended vino tinto is a straightforward table wine with a pleasant fruity aroma and cherry taste. A bottle of the Bicentenario sells for 6.69 pesos at Vea supermarket. We paid 35 pesos for two portions of locro and a dozen empanadas purchased from a roadside vendor.