The Mexican Independence Day is an official holiday in Mexico which commemorates the day on which Cry of Dolores or Grito de Dolores was uttered for the first time from Dolores Hidalgo, which is a small town in Mexico, on the 16th of September in 1810.
This event marked the starting of Mexican War of Independence against the Spaniards. The word “Grito” was the declaration of Mexican War of Independence by a Roman Catholic priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. Since the year 1825, this day has been celebrated as the Mexican Independence Day.
Several Criollos people and Hidalgo were a part of the planned revolt against the colonial government of Spain during which a few plotters of the revolt were killed.
Afraid the he would be arrested by the government, Hidalgo ordered his brother, Mauricio, along with Mariano Abasolo and Ignacio Allende to accompany several other armed men. They were given the responsibility of making the sheriff release all the inmates who supported independence on the wee hours of 16th September.
They had set around eighty of the inmates free. On 16th September in the year 1810, Hidalgo commanded all the church bells to be rung to gather his followers at 2:30 a.m. With Juan Aldama and Ignacio Allende by his sides, Hidalgo addressed his followers with a speech and urged them to start a revolt against the colonial government.
The first major step towards revolt, the Siege of Guanajuato, took place exactly four days after Hidalgo’s address to his fellowmen. On 28th September 1821, that is a decade after the War of Independence, Mexico’s independence was declared from its colonial ruler, Spain, in Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire. Insurgents like Vicente Guerrero along with the former royal officer, Augustin de Iturbide, were the ones who achieved independence of Mexico but Hidalgo is considered to be the father of Mexico.
From the latter half of the 20th century, Hidalgo’s cry of Dolores has become symbolic of the Mexican Independence Day. Every year at 11:00 p.m. in the evening, the President of Mexico rings bell at the National Palace situated in the Mexico City after which it is customary for him to repeat Grito Mexicano, which is a shout of patriotism, based on the Grito de Dolores.
It consists of the names of all the patriotic heroes who were responsible for achievement of Mexico’s independence. He ends the speech by shouting out the words “Viva Mexico” three times to the crowd gathered in Zocalo or the Plaza de la Constitucion, one of the biggest plazas in the world, from the balcony of the National Palace.
After the threefold cheer, the President rings the bell of the Palace again and waves the national flag while the public gathered to witness the event cheers and applauses. This is followed by the mass singing and playing the tune of the Mexican national anthem. It is played by the military band of the Mexican Armed Forces. About half a million of people, including the Mexicans and visitors from all over the world, gather to witness and be a part of this event on this special day.
On the next day morning, which is the Independence Day, the national parade done by the military men in the honor of this day begins in Zocalo and its neighborhood region. This military parade goes by the Hidalgo Memorial, El Angel Memorial and several other places on its way before coming to a halt at the main boulevard of Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma. A similar type of celebration and observance takes place in towns and cities of Mexico and even in the Mexican Consulates and Embassies that are located throughout the world on 15th as well as 16th of September.
The mayor of the towns and cities rings a bell and addresses the people gathered by giving a traditional speech which includes taking the names of all the patriots and heroes who brought about independence in Mexico. The speech again ends by shouting out “Viva Mexico” three times after which he rings the bell again and waves the National flag towards the public.
After this the mass gathered hums the tune of the national anthem in the honor of that day. In state capitals these are carried out by the Governors and for oversees celebrations it is done by the Consuls or the Ambassadors. This day is also celebrated in schools, colleges and other working institutions throughout the country. It was a tradition to re-enact the Grito at the Dolores Hidalgo and not at the National Palace by the Mexican President in the last year in his office back in the 19th century.
Even though President Calderon was officiated at Grito in Dolores Hidalgo, he was the first one to launch the bicentennial celebrations in 2010 on the balcony of the National Palace on the night of 15th September. Due to this, the commemoration of 2012 was held at the balcony of National Palace instead of the Grito. Thus he became the third President to break the tradition. The September 16th or the following day is the day on which Mexico attained independence and is a patriotic holiday which is called Fiesta Patria.
Parades, beating of drums and bugles, patriotic programs, competition of marching bands and various other events which are even broadcasted by the media take place on Independence Day. The public celebrates this special day by going to parties and feasts, by playing music and also by bursting firecrackers. It is a day of celebration for the Mexicans and they are seen to be in jovial mood. Decorations mainly using the colors of the Mexican flag, red, white and green, are done in towns and cities of Mexico. Horns and whistles are blown and people throw confetti in the crowd to celebrate this festive occasion. The phrases like Viva Mexico are often heard being shouted amidst the mass gathered on this day.