Mexico’s Independence Day

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Evelyn Fraire

September 16th is a national holiday in Mexico. Mexicans around the world celebrate the anniversary of the country’s independence from Spain. It is something we all are proud of, although it is often confused with Cinco de Mayo by people living in the United States.

History

New Spain, which is now known as Mexico, was a colony ruled by Spain for over 300 years. During those 300 years the native population was treated poorly. Their farmland and personal wealth were confiscated. What is worse is that only Spaniards were allowed to hold political posts. As you can imagine many of the native people were infuriated and had enough of the harsh treatment they  received from the Spaniards. Alongside them was a Catholic priest in the town of Dolores named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla who also had quite enough.

On September 16, 1810 Father Costilla rang his church’s bell. After that he delivered a speech which is now known as “El Grito de Dolores” (Cry of Dolores). In his speech he was demanding the end of the Spanish rule.

 

His demand for the end of Spanish rule infuriated the Spaniards, which caused the brutal Mexican War of Independence, which continued for over a decade. After 11 years of war between Mexico and Spain on August 24, 1821, Spain finally withdrew and officially recognized Mexico as an independent country. Due to Father Costilla’s braveness on his demand, he is now known as the Father of Mexican Independence.

 

How it is celebrated

One of the most popular events that is connected to Mexican Independence Day is when the president of Mexico rings the 200-year-old bell – yes, the same one Father Costilla used in the year 1810. The president also recites El Grito de Dolores speech in front of 500,000 people. This day is celebrated with festive fireworks, fiestas or parties, along with lots of good food and music. Many people dress in traditional Mexican dresses also known as huipils for the ladies and charro suits for the lads. They dance together the Mexican Ballet also known as folklorico, Jarabe Tapatio (The Mexican Hat Dance).

How will you celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day on September 16?

information was collected from: mexican-independence-day