By Alex Cordero
In the early morning of Sept. 16, 1810 in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, a Roman Catholic priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, rallied the Mexican people to rise up and declare their independence from 300 years of Spanish rule. By 1821 a country that was formerly known as New Spain was thereafter to be known as the independent country of Mexico to the rest of the world. Even though there may be many misconceptions that Cinco de Mayo is the independence holiday of Mexico, Sept. 16 is in fact the day Mexico celebrates the birth of its nation. The cry for Mexico’s independence, now referred to as “El Grito de Dolores” (The Cry of Dolores) is re-enacted every year late at night on Sept. 15 followed by festivities lasting all through the next day which commemorates national independence day in Mexico.
Thousands of people gather on the evening of Sept. 15 in the national palace in Mexico City to hear the same bell that Miguel Hidalgo used to recruit his congregation for independence. It is a tradition for the President of Mexico to give a shout of patriotism from the balcony of the national palace. The traditional “Grito de Dolores” is recited in front of thousands honoring the names of heroes responsible for fighting the war of independence. Every year from deep within the hearts of Mexican people, filled with pride all over the nation, they shout at the top of their voices “VIVA MEXICO” three times at the end of “El Grito.” The event is a long standing tradition in Mexico and the vibrant celebrations are contagious.
This famous patriotic shout also kicks off Latino Heritage Month here in the U.S. Cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles hold Mexico’s Independence Day celebration as well as the tradition of the patriotic shout.
Many Latin countries celebrate their independence day in the month of September. Countries such as Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua celebrate the births of their nations during this month as well. On Saturday, Sept. 15 there will be a big “El Grito” celebration from 5 to 10:30 p.m. at the City Hall of Los Angeles. There will be live performances, music, food and dancing. At 9 p.m. there will be a re-enactment of the Cry of Dolores, and there will be prideful shouts of Latin Heritage. The event will give locals the opportunity to experience Mexico’s Independence Day celebration that shouts pride, patriotism, and honor.