Independence Day

September 16 is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day and is an opportunity for Mexicans, both at home and abroad, to celebrate their freedom, culture and way of life. 

Independence Day in Mexico is a patriotic, public holiday, marked by parades, concerts, music competitions and many special events and programmes on national and local media outlets.

The UK is also increasingly joining in the celebrations, with many Independence Day parties and events organised by the growing number of Mexican restaurants and bars across the country.

La Guerra de Independencia

La Guerra de Independencia de México (The Mexican War of Independence) was an armed conflict and the culmination of a political and social process which ended the rule of Spain in 1821 in the territory of New Spain (Mexico).

The war had its roots in Napoleon’s French invasion of Spain in 1808; it extended from the Grito de Dolores by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla on September 16, 1810, to the entrance of the Army of the Three Guarantees led by Agustín de Iturbide to Mexico City on September 27, 1821.  The three guarantees which the army was meant to defend were: religion, independence and unity. Mexico was to be a Catholic country, independent from Spain, and united against its enemies.

Spain, under the rule of Isabella II, recognized the independence of Mexico in 1836.

El Grito de Dolores

El Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores) is an historical event that happened in the early morning of 16 September 1810. Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the bell of his church and gave the pronunciamiento (call to arms) that triggered the Mexican War of Independence. This happened in the state of Guanajuato within the small town of Dolores (now Dolores Hidalgo). In October 1825, the day of 16 September began to be observed as Mexico’s Independence Day.

Presidential celebration in Mexico City

Every 15 September, on the eve of Independence Day, at around 11 p.m., the President of Mexico stands on the balcony of the National Palace and rings the same bell that Hidalgo rang in 1810. The President then recites El Grito Mexicano, based upon El Grito de Dolores, with the names of the important heroes of the Mexican War of Independence who were present on that historic day. The Grito ends with the threefold shout of ¡Viva México!

Mexican Independence Day Celebration Sept 16th 2017

This is the version often recited by the President of Mexico:


¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron patria!

¡Viva Hidalgo!

¡Viva Morelos!

¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez!

¡Viva Allende!

¡Viva Aldama y Matamoros!

¡Viva la Independencia Nacional!

¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!

Beneath the balcony of the National Palace, a large crowd gathers in the Plaza de la Constitución (also called the Zócalo), to hear the recitation. The event draws up to half a million spectators from all over Mexico and tourists from around the world. After the President recites each line beginning with “¡Viva(n)!”, the crowd responds by repeating, “¡Viva(n)!”

After the recitation, the President rings the bell one last time, and waves the Flag of Mexico to the applause of the crowd.

This is followed by the playing of the Himno Nacional Mexicano (Mexican national anthem) by a military band from the Mexican Armed Forces. The crowd sings along.

On the morning of 16 September, Independence Day, the national military parade in honour of the holiday starts in the Zócalo, passes the Hidalgo Memorial and ends on the Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s main boulevard, passing “El Ángel de la Indepencia” memorial column along the way.

Some years El Grito is performed in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato. This is especially common in the final year of a President’s term.

Read more about the Mexican War of Independence on Wikipedia.

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