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Mexican Independence Day

Mexico celebrates its Independence from Spain every year starting at 11:00 p.m. on September 15, when the President appears on the balcony of the National Palace in the Central Plaza of Mexico City, to recite El Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores).

Spanish dominance of Mexico began in 1519 when Cortez invaded Mexico. Three centuries later, Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest in the village of Dolores near Hidalgo, in the State of Guanajuato, emerged as one of the leaders of Mexico's fight for independence. At midnight on September 15, 1810, accompanied by the ringing of church bells, he gave a famous speech, crying out for Mexican self-rule and a revolt against the Spanish oppression and exploitation.

Hidalgo was ultimately executed by Spanish troops on July 30, 1811. Jose Maria Morelos y Pabon continued to lead the war, but Mexico did not win true independence until 1821, and it was not until 1829, that Spain actually acknowledged Mexico's Independence.

El Grito de Dolores is a re-creation of the speech given by Hidalgo in 1810. With the Zocalo (Central Plaza) crowded with emotionally patriotic Mexicans from all walks of life, the Cry of Dolores, mixed with the peeling of cathedral bells, is timed to start at the stroke of midnight on September 15th. Cries of

¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron patria!
¡Viva Hidalgo!
¡Viva Morelos!
¡Viva Josefa Ortíz de Dominguez!
¡Viva Allende!
¡Vivan Aldama y Matamoros!
¡Viva la Independencia Nacional!
¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!

are followed by an impressive fireworks and laser display. The Cries can vary throughout the Mexican Republic to include recognition of the important contribution to Mexico's struggle for Independence by other individuals such as Ignacio Allende, Benito Juarez, Francisco Madero, Vicente Guerrero, Guadalupe Victoria, Pedro Moreno, Nicholas Bravo and Pipila.

The Independence Day celebration continues through September 16 with parades and ringing cathedral bells even in the most remote villages.

¡Feliz grito de Dolores!

Diana K. Rowland



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