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Mexico’s Independence Day celebrated on September 16th, is one of the most significant and cherished holidays in the country. It marks the day when Mexico declared its independence from Spanish colonial rule, setting in motion a series of events that would shape the nation’s history and culture.
The roots of Mexican Independence Day can be traced back to the late 18th century when a growing sense of discontent and resistance to Spanish rule began to take hold among the Mexican populace. Key figures in this movement included Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and José María Morelos, who played instrumental roles in the struggle for independence. It was Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest, who famously rang the bell of his church in the town of Dolores on the night of September 15, 1810, to call for rebellion against Spanish oppression, a moment known as “El Grito de Dolores” or “The Cry of Dolores.”
The ensuing struggle for independence spanned over a decade and was marked by both triumphs and setbacks. Finally, on September 27, 1821, Mexico achieved its hard-fought independence when the Treaty of Córdoba was signed. Mexican Independence Day, however, is celebrated on September 16th, to honor Hidalgo’s courageous call to arms.
Mexican Independence Day is celebrated with a wide array of traditions and customs that reflect the nation’s deep-seated patriotism and pride. Here are some of the most prominent customs associated with this festive occasion:
El Grito de Dolores: The evening of September 15th is the epicenter of celebrations across Mexico. At 11 PM, crowds gather in town squares, where local officials or dignitaries reenact Hidalgo’s famous cry for independence. The shout of “¡Viva México!” (Long live Mexico!) is met with resounding cheers, flag waving, and fireworks. In La Paz, this ceremony and artistic performances are held at the Plaza de la Reforma del Palacio de Gobierno del Estado (click here for the Google Map location).
Parades: September 16th sees vibrant parades in towns and cities throughout Mexico. In La Paz, the parade takes place along the waterfront Malecon. These parades often feature colorful floats, traditional music, dance performances, and people dressed in patriotic attire.
Decorations: Throughout the month of September streets and buildings are adorned with the Mexican flag and patriotic decorations. You’ll see red, white, and green everywhere, from homes to businesses and public spaces. An official lighting ceremony took place at the Plaza de la Reforma del Palacio de Gobierno del Estado in La Paz on September 4th, 2023 to kick off ‘el mes patrio’ (or, the patriotic month). Visit any day after sunset to see the incredible installations.
Traditional Foods: Like any good celebration, Mexican Independence Day comes with delicious cuisine. Street vendors offer a wide range of traditional Mexican foods, including tacos, tamales, and chiles en nogada (stuffed poblano pepper drizzled with a walnut crema and garnished with pomegranate seeds – for that patriotic green, white and red effect!). Don’t forget to try the sweet and spicy chiles en nogada, which are particularly popular during this time.
Music and Dancing: Mariachi bands and traditional dancers often provide the soundtrack to the festivities. It’s common to hear mariachi songs, rancheras, and other regional music styles during the celebrations.
Fireworks: The night sky is set ablaze with dazzling fireworks displays, adding to the electrifying atmosphere of the celebrations.
Mexican Independence Day celebrated on September 16th, is a joyous occasion that brings people together to commemorate their nation’s hard-fought freedom. It’s a time to reflect on the rich history, cultural heritage, and enduring spirit of Mexico. While you’re in La Paz, this holiday offers a chance to embrace Mexican identity, savor traditional cuisine, and revel in the vibrant festivities that make it truly unforgettable.
By: The Trip&homes Team