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The Day of Mexican Independence

Independence Day in Mexico - September 16th

Independence Day in Mexico - September 16th. The Grito de Dolores is the most famous part of Mexican independence history.

16th September is Independence Day in Mexico, since independence was claimed from Spain on that day in 1810. The popular Spanish term for the occasion is the Grito de Dolores – which literally means the Cry of Dolores.

The Grito was the cry of independence shouted by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who had revolted against the ruling Spanish government. Independence sentiments had been brewing for some time, given the US and French revolutions, as well as the French occupation of Spain at the beginning of the nineteenth century. After hearing that the government was intending to arrest him, Hidalgo sounded the bell of his church in the southern coastal town of Dolores, took to the pulpit and announced his plans to rebel, encouraging the other parishioners to join him. Within several hours he had amassed an army of people willing to revolt against Spain. This uprising against the authorities started a decade-long revolutionary war.

Having marched towards Mexico City with the assistance of Ignacio Allende, the rebel armies were dealt a severe blow by a small group of highly-trained Spanish soldiers in January 1811. Hidalgo and Allende were both detained, and later executed. Some of the group evaded capture, and soon took up the cause for independence themselves. After several more executions and setbacks, independence proper was achieved in September 1821.

Independence Day in the world’s largest Spanish-speaking country is celebrated annually across the country, and is one of the most important Mexican holidays. Local dignitaries reenact Hidalgo’s Grito de Dolores in town halls up and down the nation, and in Mexico City, at midnight between 15th and 16th September, the President stands on the balcony of the Palacio Nacional and rings a replica of the bell that Hidalgo used, and then recites the Grito. After this, he rings the bell once more and waves the flag of Mexico while the country’s national anthem is played by a military band. Fireworks are displayed, and parades and dances are performed in town squares. The population themselves usually hang national flags from their homes, and food plays a large part in the celebrations, specifically food made in the national colors of red, white, and green. Favorite dishes include pozole, a type of soup made of pork and hominy, and of course the national drink tequila.

Statues of Hidalgo, who is considered the father of Mexico, are decorated across the country in green, white and red. The green symbolizes the country’s independence; the white represents religion, while the red shows union.

The Grito de Dolores

The exact wording of Hidalgo’s Cry of Dolores is disputed, and there exist several plausible versions of what he said. However, this is the official Grito that the President normally chants:

Long live the heroes that gave us the Fatherland!
Long live Hidalgo!
Long live Morelos!
Long live Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez!
Long live Allende!
Long live Galena and the Bravos!
Long live Aldama and Matamoros!
Long live National Independence!
Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico!