El Grito de Dolores The Mex­i­can Call To Arms Against Spain

Mex­i­can In­de­pen­dence Day is just around the cor­ner. Find out when the free­dom from Spain is cel­e­brated, how Mex­i­cans celebrate and why the day is cel­e­brated a day early

The Playa Times Riviera Maya's English Newspaper - - Art & Culture - BY ALEJANDRA CAMPO ROMO,

Mex­i­cans are days away from cel­e­brat­ing another year since the be­gin­ning of the fight for in­de­pen­dence; more than two cen­turies have passed since Septem­ber 16, 1810.

Why do we celebrate the night of Septem­ber 15 and call it Fi­esta del Grito?

It was very early in the morn­ing on Sun­day, Septem­ber 16 when priest Miguel Hidalgo y Cos­tilla, af­ter hav­ing been ad­vised his con­spir­acy against the viceroy of new Spain had been dis­cov­ered, lead the call to arms. He rang the bell of the parish church in Dolores, Gua­na­ju­ato (to­day known as Dolores Hidalgo) to call the faith­ful to mass. He then con­vinced them to fol­low him in fight­ing to lift the yoke of Span­ish op­pres­sion, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the fact that France had in­vaded Spain. This was how the fight for Mex­i­can in­de­pen­dence be­gan.

When was it cel­e­brated for the first time?

Although José María More­los as­signed the day of the 16 as In­de­pen­dence Day, the first party was due to Em­press Car­lota ar­rang­ing a cel­e­bra­tion in 1864 in Dolores.

Then why is it cel­e­brated on the 15?

The party on the night of Septem­ber 15 is be­cause ac­cord­ing to leg­end, in­fa­mous dic­ta­tor Por­firio Díaz wanted to move the party to co­in­cide with his birth­day. Ever since then, the cus­tom each Septem­ber 15 is for the cur­rent Pres­i­dent to step out onto the cen­tral bal­cony of the Na­tional Palace and give “the cry”, cel­e­brat­ing the lib­erty of Mexico, remembering each one of the he­roes who fought, cul­mi­nat­ing in a shout of “Viva Méx­ico!”. The flag is waved, the bell of Dolores is rung, and the na­tional an­them is sung. Then, a Mex­i­can themed din­ner is served, com­plete with mari­achi mu­sic. This rit­ual is re­peated in towns and houses all over the Mex­i­can Re­pub­lic.

But why is it called El Grito?

Hidalgo gave a short, en­thu­si­as­tic speech to the peo­ple to fol­low him, although, in re­al­ity, there is no cer­tainty of ex­actly what he said. In re­sponse to his speech, a small rudi­men­tary army of around 200 armed men formed. Upon ar­riv­ing in Ato­tonilco, Hidalgo took up a ban­ner bear­ing the Vir­gin of Guadalupe as a flag, writ­ing on it “Viva Las América! Death to the bad gov­ern­ment!” This is why the night of Septem­ber 15 is called El Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores), “The Night of The Cry”, or “The Cry of In­de­pen­dence”.

Pres­i­dent En­rique Peña Ni­eto waves the Mex­i­can Flag dur­ing the el Grito cel­e­bra­tion / Photo: wikipedia

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