Four years ago, a month after arriving in Mexico, I attended my first Independence Day and witnessed the famous “Grito”. It is an emotional occasion for all Mexicans. After all, it commemorates the start of the Mexican war for independence, that freed the country from Spanish rule 203 years ago.

In the early 19th century, the priest Miguel Hidalgo had been conspiring with others to revolt against the Spanish elites and ultimately gain independence. This revolt was to take place on October 1, 1810. However, the conspiracy was uncovered and  Hidalgo had to act fast in order to save the movement. On September 16, 1810, in the small city of Dolores near Guanajuato, he summoned his congregation by ordering one of the church bells to be rung. He then made a passionate speech to the people, encouraging everyone to join the movement and revolt against oppression. Nobody knows his exacts words, but the strength of his speech and passionate appeal has since then been called the “Grito” or shout. Hidalgo managed to gain much support and raise an initial army of 40.000 people. The revolt soon spread to other parts of Mexico and finally led to independence after 10 years of a hard fought war. Hidalgo would be executed in 1811 but he was never forgotten and is considered the father of the nation and the first leader of the war for Independence.

Since this day marked the beginning of the fight for Independence for Mexico, it was chosen as the national day. The same 203 year old bell used by Hidalgo is still rung each year on the night of September 15 by the President of Mexico around 11 p.m. He then gives praise to every hero of the revolution, by mentioning their names and ends up with an emotional Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Long live Mexico!

It is wonderful to see the crowd that gathers every year at the zocalo, the main square in Mexico City. Whole families come to commemorate and participate in the festivities. There is a lively, happy atmosphere. There are food stalls everywhere with a great variety of traditional Mexican “fast food” (antojitos). The delicious smell of chiles, meat, different types of tortillas and sweets intoxicate you in a good way. This is not the time to worry about your weight, it is a time to celebrate. The pride to be Mexican is evident. It is a happy occasion and even with rain, 70.000 people attended this year.

El Grito - Celebrating Mexico's Independence Day IMG_00000076

I wanted to be present for a final time since this marks the beginning of our last year in Mexico. I have mentioned in other posts, that I will deeply miss this country and the wonderful people I met here that have become true family to us. So when the President shouted Viva Mexico, I also shouted back with the crowd for the last time, my own last “grito”! Viva Mexico!!!

El Grito - Celebrating Mexico's Independence Day IMG_00000077

Maria

Maria

Welcome! If you love travel and photography and are looking for new places to explore, this is the right place for you! And of course a person gotta eat so why not follow in my footsteps, visit some exotic markets, get inspired and enjoy original and healthy recipes from my extensive collection of cookbooks.

7 Comments

  • Gloria Jefferies says:

    Dear Maria,
    This was so nice and so accurate! For a person like me who has been out of my dear México for more than 30 years already; it was really moving. I can relate to what your experience is because it has happen to me while living in this other country that also has become like my second “patria” (it will never be like my first, that one will always be México!). In the name of the rest of all the Mexicans, allow me to Thank You big time… Thank you for understanding the soul of Mexico, Thank you for sharing it and Thank you for feeling it the way you do that is with “love”.
    Now, More likely that “grito” will not be your last grito on a 15 of September… where ever you are in the future, you will remember and I am sure that a VIVA MEXICO! will pop out from the bottom of your heart. Wouldn’t it?
    Here at home, I woke up thinking of celebrating with my family so I went early and bought ingredients to make a nice Pozole !!!! It was delicious, specialy on that special day. Love, Gloria

    • Maria says:

      Dear Gloria, You have touched me deeply with your words. You know, I have lived in other countries and they have all touched me in different ways. However, my connection with Mexico has been a deep one, I really fell in love with this country and its people and whenever I write about it, you can believe it always comes from the heart. I admire the soul, the spirit, the history and traditions of this country and I will never forget every special moment here. I do believe you are right, wherever I will be there will be other “gritos” and Vivas to Mexico on other September 15. I wish I had tasted that wonderful Pozole! Have been wanting to do Pozole for a long time now, just have to find the time! Soon I hope…Love

  • Carmen Pacetti says:

    María:
    Muy bonito tu escrito. También nosotros los echaremos muchísimo de menos. Los llevaremos siempre en nuestros corazones, sobre todo con la pura Mexicana que tienen en familia
    Gracias por querer a mi país.

  • Diogo Dias says:

    Such a nice experience!!! Thank you for all the nice information about Mexico!!! I traveled with your words to this wonderful day and I imagined Mexico nowadays and in the XIXth century … Thank you Maria and thank you Hidalgo!! Hehe

    • Maria says:

      I’m so happy you liked it Diogo and it is very rewarding to hear that you were able to travel a bit in Mexico through my words. It means a lot and thank you for reading!

  • Spanish student says:

    Interesting, las celebraciones de México son muy similares a las celebraciones de América para el día de la independencia.

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