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Mexican Independence Day
15 DE SEPTEMBRE, EL DÍA DE INDEPENDENCIA
El Día de Independencia (Independence Day) is another one of the major festivals celebrated in Mexico. “Independence Day” is actually a misnomer as the celebration is stretched out between two days, the 15th and 16th of September. These holidays are also known as the Fiestas Patrias. (See the History section for more details on Mexican Independence).
At 11:00 PM on the night of September 15th, Mexicans gather in the main plazas of their communities to hear the Grito de Independencia (Shout of Independence), originally delivered by Father Hidalgo in the year 1810. In that year, Father Hidalgo gathered a group of his fellow conspirators and gave the original Grito in the town of Dolores Hidalgo, in the state of Guanajuato. This event marked the beginning of the War of Independence against Spanish rule, which ended 10 years later.
The biggest celebration of Mexican Independence is in the Zocalo Capitalino (Central Plaza of Mexico City) where the President of Mexico reenacts the Grito from the balcony of the Palacio Nacional (Nacional Palace). The Grito, also known as the Grito de Dolores, begins with a series of celebratory shouts including the recognition of the heroes of the War of Independence. The final shout is an emotional “¡Viva México!” (“Long Live Mexico!”) in which the crowd joins in with riotous applause and flag waving. Moments afterwards, fireworks begin to explode overhead as patriotic music plays and the crowd sings along.
While the President delivers the main Grito, in neighborhoods throughout Mexico City and in cities and towns throughout the country, a lesser political representative performs the Grito. This is usually the local delegado (representative) or alcalde (mayor) of the city or village.
If you visit Mexico at this time, you may think that Christmas has arrived early, as the streets are often lined with beautiful lights in the colors of the Mexican Flag, red white and green. Beginning in mid August, you will see street vendors selling all manner of patriotic paraphernalia, including Mexican flags of all sizes. Images of the heroes of Mexican Independence, including Allende, Hidalgo, Morelos begin to appear everywhere (see the History section for more details on these key historical figures). You will also see the ubiquitous national symbol of the eagle on the cactus devouring a snake displayed proudly on street lamps in the form of a golden shield.
Also learn about The Day of the Dead - in which Mexicans pay homage to their deceased relatives with some of the most beautiful and unusual traditions found in the country.
Learn more about Mexico.....
Great Sites on Mexico:
Aztec Gardens - A guide to the pre-Hispanic plants and foods of Mexico, with ancient recipes from Mesoamerica. A great resource for the teacher, student, amateur, ethno botanist, chief, or anyone interested in the plants and foods of Mexico and Mesoamerica.
Festival of Mexico Folk Arts - Mexican folk art information, Mexican toys and games including loteria cards, Mexican culture and folk art buying tips, Folk art from Chiapas, Oaxaca, Huichol folk art, and more!