In acknowledgement of the day of the dead On Saturday November 5th Santa Ana had their annual Noche de Altares in celebration of Day of the Dead of which I was able to take part in. Amongst the several altares I saw, one stuck with me as it contributed to my exploration of the Latino fans-Morrissey phenomenon.

The Chican@s Unidos group from Orange County made an altar in honor of the “San Patricios” who are the Irish veterans of the U.S. War against México. Upon hearing more about this Saint Patrick’s Battalion, I was allowed to further make the connection between Mexicanos and the Irish.  

Virgen De Guadalupe Carrying Irish Soldado

Historically, Ireland has been oppressed starting from the Roman Empire that colonized the European indigenous people, in this case the Kelts. Soon after the collapse of the Roman Empire, England invaded Ireland which resulted in the 800-year struggle for liberation. During this occupation the Irish were turned into workers of their own land as overseen by the English settlers.

The Irish people soon began to emigrate because of the Irish Famine which they suffered during the 1840’s and 1850’s. For those who arrived in the United States, an insistence on participating in the military intervention in México was made in return for citizenship, a salary and land.

However, due to a wide range of reasons such as discrimination by U.S. nativists, restrictions on practicing their Catholic religion, and especially the orders to destroy cathedral in México led to the joining of the Mexican efforts as the “Batallón de San Patricio”.


(Ireland Forever) Flag of San Patricios

While both the Irish and Mexicans held a common religion, it can be noted that the link had to be the struggle by oppressed people to regain or maintain their land and cultural identity free from any domineering forces.

For this reason, the fandom that Latinos hold for Irish singer Morrissey can be a historical one which is fueled by the parallels of race relations, cultural alienation, and overall struggle between Mexicans and the Irish.

In acknowledgement of the Día de los Muertos celebrations, this video demonstrates the fusion of Irish folk music by The Chieftains and the Mexican Norteño music of Tigres del Norte singing a song commonly heard for Day of the Dead.



About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

One response »

  1. Damiancito says:

    Nice link between the two. Kind of like saying Latino Muslims are so because of the Moors occupation of Spain. Buen trabajo!

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