Veinticinco de Mayo (May 25th) is a national holiday to commemorate the 1810 revolution that resulted in the first Argentine government, and independence from Spain. A national holiday that shuts down businesses and stripes the city with sky blue and white, the colors of a revolution.
During the early part of the 19th century, Argentina was a Spanish colony, ruled by a Viceroy, Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros. Cisneros acted as a representative of the Spanish crown and lived in Buenos Aires to see that Argentina didn’t stretch too far from the king who claimed it.
But when Spain faced entered into conflict with France in 1810, the Spanish grip on the South American colonies began to slip – serendipitous timing for a Argentine nationals looking to throw off their oversea rulers.
When the Spanish government dissolved, Cisneros found himself with no formal authority and was quickly pushed aside to make way for the first independent Argentina government, known as the Primera Junta. Though the formal declaration of Independence would not be issued until July 9, 1816, the May Revolution began the Argentine War of Independence.
May 25th was a critical step for Argentina’s journey toward sovereignty and – according to a mix of history and legend – the sunny skies on this fateful day inspired the sun that now sits in the middle of the Argentine flag, known as the Sun of May.
The 25th of May is a public holiday, a patriotic date in which businesses shut down and people celebrate with family, friends and grilled asado. Formal celebrations take place in Buenos Aires and for the rest of the country, it’s a day slow down and remember.
It is also a day to enjoy a particular pastry favorite: the pastelito. This quince-filled, fried pastry is a tradition on this patriotic day, though the origins are more than a little foggy. The whispered tale tells of a little old woman selling pastelitos on the street, a sweet salty treat that has become the holiday’s mascot more out of taste than tradition.