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Independence Day in Mexico

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Independence Day Flags

Mexican Flags for Sale

© 2006 Suzanne Barbezat, licensed to About

Grito de Dolores:

In the early hours of September 16th, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a priest in the small town of Dolores, Guanajuato, rang the church bell to gather the townspeople. He called for the people of Mexico to rise up against the Spanish Crown, thus initiating Mexico's War of Independence. The country did not achieve independence until 1821, but it is this event, known as the Grito de Dolores which is commemorated every year in town squares across Mexico.

Independence Day Festivities:

The largest Independence Day celebration takes place in Mexico City's Zocalo, which is decorated from the beginning of September with red, white and green lights and Mexican flags. On the 15th, at 11 pm the President of the Republic goes out onto the central balcony of the National Palace (Palacio Nacional), rings the bell (the same bell Hidalgo rang in 1810, brought to Mexico City in 1886) and cries to the people gathered in the square below, who enthusiastically respond "¡Viva!"

The words of the Grito may vary, but they go something like this:

¡Vivan los heroes que nos dieron patria! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Hidalgo! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Morelos! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Allende! ¡Viva!
¡Vivan Aldama y Matamoros! ¡Viva!
¡Viva nuestra independencia! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva!
At the end of the third ¡Viva Mexico! the crowd goes wild waving flags, ringing noisemakers and spraying foam. Then fireworks light up the sky as the crowd cheers. Later the Mexican national anthem is sung.

Get some ideas about where to celebrate "El Grito" on September 15th.

The celebrations continue on the 16th with civic ceremonies and parades - the largest taking place in Mexico City, but perhaps the most touching festivities are those in small communities in which school children of all ages participate.

Independence Day Foods:

Like most festivities, certain foods are considered representative of Independence Day. A favorite is pozole, a soup made of hominy and pork. Other foods have the colors of the Mexican flag - red white and green, like chiles en nogada. And of course, it just wouldn't be a party without plenty of mezcal and tequila!

More Independence Day Resources:

Learn more about El Grito and where to celebrate, and don't worry if you can't be in Mexico, here are Ten Ways to Celebrate Mexican Independence Day wherever you're spending the holiday.

Further reading: Mexico's Día de la Independencia.

See our photo gallery of Independence Day celebrations.

More Festivals and Events in September:

Find out what else is happening in Mexico this month: see our list of Festivals and Events in Mexico in September.

Also read: Mexican Independence Day: Get the Facts

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