Since the first time in Mexico it was clear to me that September is a special month. Mexico + September = Flags and mexicanness everywhere! This is the third time that I’m able to witness the special September celebrations first hand. A couple of weeks ago it already started with small stands selling items that show pure ‘mexicanness’ to the public: Flags, flags, clothing, jewelry with the colors of the Mexican flag, did I mention flags?, etc. Before continuing, I’d like to mention that when saying mexicanness, I mean everything that’s considered typically Mexican by Mexicans themselves. Of course, this is based on personal experiences and what people told me, so if you have any comments – please let me know.
Another typical thing this month is the presence of many ferias. Here you can find a lot of rides that often look like they’re about to fall
apart. Nevertheless, people enjoy to take a chance (ride). Ferias are also famous for selling very typical Mexican dulces (sweets), which are delicious. I like them a lot, because most of them have honey as their main ingredient (which is quite special, since normally Mexican dulces are spicy!
And now the day is finally here: September 15th. Why all the celebrations? Well, because of Mexican Independence Day! That’s right, it’s not Cinco de Mayo as many of you may think. It actually takes place today.
It all started back in 1810 when the Mexican Father Miguel Hidalgo exclaimed the Grito de Independencia/Dolores (Cry of Dolores, because it took place in a town called Dolores). Before that very important moment in Mexican history, he and some others wanted to ban Spanish rule over their land, which was going on for nearly 300 years at that point. On September 15th 1810 he gathered people to tell them they had to form an army against the Spaniards in order to liberate their country from Spanish rule. By doing so, he launched the Mexican War of Independence that day.
To mix history with present day, we should take a look at the modern version of El Grito, which is re-enacted every year by politicians and local mayors on the main zocalos of cities and villages. Just before the Grito starts, a (church) bell is rung to gather everyone. After that, the honored person to exclaim the Grito steps forward, holding a heavy Mexican flag in his hands. Although there are many versions of what Hidalgo said on that day, nobody is sure about it. The modern version often looks like this, it also includes an explanation of the sentences (variations possible):
¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!
Long live our Lady of Guadalupe! She’s the patroness of Mexico and very important in Mexican culture. During the War of Independence, the people in the army carried her image all the time.
¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron patria!
Long live the heroes who gave us our homeland!
Long live Hidalgo! Miguel Hidalgo was the person who exclaimed the Grito on September 15th 1810.
Long live Morelos! Leader of the rebellions after Hidalgo’s execution.
¡Viva Josefa Ortíz de Dominguez!
Long live Josefa Ortíz de Dominguez! The good thing for Mexican history is that the governor who became aware of Hidalgo’s plans had a wife who had a positive attitude towards the rebellion movement. Being the governor’s wife, she was aware of his plans and could warn Hidalgo just before he and his men would have been locked up in jail.
Long live Allende! Capitán Ignacio Allende was also part of the first movement for Independence.
¡Vivan Aldama y Matamoros!
Long live Aldama and Matamoros! Aldama was an important person in the War of Independence and Matamoros was the right hand of Morelos.
¡Viva la Independencia Nacional!
Long live the Independence of our Nation.
¡Viva México! – Viva México! – Viva México!
While exclaiming the last phrase, the official waves the Mexican flag.
Normally, the crowd repeats all phrases immediately after they’ve been said by the mayor or politician.
Eventually, Mexico got its independence on September 16th, 1821. Because of that Mexico celebrates both September 15th and 16th. And they know how to celebrate!
México, AhoritaYA wishes you a Happy Independence Day.
¡Viva – Viva – VIVA!
© 2016 by Debbie Vorachen – AHORITA YA. All Rights Reserved.
Photos © 2016 by Debbie Vorachen – AHORITA YA. All Rights Reserved.