On or about April 21, Texans everywhere put up the Lone Star flag throughout the state. Primarily celebrated in the beautiful, picturesque city of San Antonio, one day comes to the forefront: San Jacinto Day!
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Commemorating one of the most definitive moments in the history of Texas, residents and visitors alike remember not only the first battle of Alamo and the following battle of Goliad but a small 18-minute skirmish known as the Battle of San Jacinto.
Now celebrated through several major cities in the Lone Star State, it is an official holiday filled with a major annual reenactment of the actual battle, colorful flower-laden parades and other Tex-Mex festivities.
Coming on the heels of the earlier and more passionate and emotionally charged battles of the Alamo in the city of San Antonio and the Presidio La Bahía near the city of Goliad, what were known as Texans launched and won the final battle for Texas independence on April 21, 1836 from the then United Mexican States.
Well-known as one of the world’s most decisive battles, Sam Houston and his rag-tag band of 910 pioneer Texans took captive the fleeing “Napoleon of the West,”Genelisimo Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana. In all, Texas’ quest for independence was more than six previous years in the making.
While the actual battle was a mere skirmish in military terms, it was the turning point in the American territorial land grab that ensued. This was more than a handful of pioneer homesteaders settlers flexing their muscles. It was a “manifested destiny” that declared America’s intention to push its territorial expansion to the max.
Attractions, Cultural Events And Festivities
With a proud boast of having the world’s tallest war memorial edifice, The San Jacinto Museum of History and Library are located at the very base of the San Jacinto Monument. A true gateway to Texas history as well as to its culture, this jewel of a museum re-visualizes the history of Texas and its Spanish colonial roots.
Replete with special treasures of art and artifacts from the Spanish conquest down to present times, visitors can also find relics of Texas contributions to the War Between The States.
Documents, bayonets, swords, on-site account sketches, this is an educational experience not to be missed by anyone. There’s something here for everyone. The attraction closes on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. While admission is free to the Museum, other fees may apply to special exhibits.
As part of the official holiday in the State of Texas, a live reenactment of the battleground is held annually by the San Jacinto Reenactment Group. Subject to date changes, sometimes the reenactments are held on other dates rather than on April 21.
Complete with colorful, elegant European-Napoleonic replica uniforms, cannon volleys and artillery discharges, volunteers from throughout Texas and even Mexico bring that decisive battle back to life for visitors and residents alike.
A Battle of Flowers including other exciting events for the family include carnivals, balls and coronations of San Antonio’s king and queen of the parade. The magnificent Battle of Flowers parade, with indigenous flowers and plant life topping the hand-crafted floats, winds down through the city of San Antonio’s downtown districts in an event reminiscent of California’s Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade.
Complimented by festive Mariachi playing bands, senoritas in typical fiesta dresses, brightly lit colored evening lights and romantic boats flowing down the city’s winding canals, visitors can finish their visit with late evening Tex-Mex culinary delights in hundreds of sidewalk cafes and restaurants throughout the city.
As it was then, it is now. Join the people of San Antonio and the rest of the Lone Star State in remembering not only the Alamo and Goliad but also the little skirmish of San Jacinto that was a turning point in the history of Mexico, Texas and the United States. It is truly an event to remember.