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A Journey Into Paradise

Celebrating Independence Day in Mexico Sept. 16

15 September, 2014

Mexican Independence Day is one of the country’s biggest holidays and even made the Huffington Post’s 2014 list of 5 Holidays Bigger Than Cinco de Mayo in Mexico. Today,locals and expats alike gather throughout the nation to celebrate this historic day,which commemorates Mexico’s hard-won 11-year battle for independence,following more than 300-years of Spanish control.

“Mexican Independence Day celebrates the revolutionary cry issued Sept. 16,1810,for Mexico’s freedom from Spain,” writes the Guardian Liberty Voice. “This call to action took place in the town of Dolores when Catholic priest,Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla,encouraged peasants to fight for their rights.”

His revolutionary cry – known as Grito de Dolores – called the people of Mexico to take back their land from the Spanish conquerors,stop racial inequality,defend their religion and end Spanish rule,marking the beginning of a long fight for Mexican independence. Although independence was not achieved until Sept. 27,1821,the date of Hidalgo’s speech is still celebrated as the official Mexican Independence Day. Each year,it is customary for the president to stand on the balcony of the National Palace and recite the Grito de Dolores at 11 p.m. on Sept. 15 to kick off celebrations nationwide. The original bell that was rung in the Dolores church has even been relocated to the palace and placed above the balcony,so it can be rung each year at the beginning of the celebration.

Other states and cities throughout Mexico also hold similar ceremonies to commemorate this important historical event,with fiesta activities including parades,concerts,patriotic programs,marching band performances,feasts and more. City,town and village squares in every state are decorated with flags,flowers and lights in the patriotic colors of red,white and green,while street vendors sell confetti,whistles,horns,a variety of different brightly colored paper-machete objects and toys.

When the clock strikes 11 p.m. on the evening of Sept. 15,crowds across the nation will gather and be silent as the president delivers the Grito de Dolores,ending with the passionate call of “Viva Mexico” and “Viva la independencia!” The crowds return the cry enthusiastically,while filling the air with confetti,streamers and other party favors in showers of green,red and white.

Today,the town of Dolores has been renamed Dolores Hidalgo in honor of the priest who sparked the fight for Mexican independence more than 200 years ago. Statues,monuments and paintings of Hidalgo shown carrying the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe can also be seen in cities throughout Mexico,including famous examples by Diego Rivera,Jose Clemente Orozco and Juan O’Gorman.

Have you ever experienced a holiday in Mexico? If so,we’d love to hear your story,so please share your experiences with readers in the comments section below today!