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EL GRITO....THE CRY FOR INDEPENDENCE

NDEPENDENCE DAY IN MEXICO

In the early hours of September 16th, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a priest in the small town of Dolores, Guanajuato, rang the church bell to gather the townspeople. He called for the people of Mexico to rise up against the Spanish Crown, thus initiating Mexico's War of Independence. The country did not achieve independence until 1821, but it is this event, known as the Grito de Dolores which is commemorated every year in town squares across Mexico.

On the 15th, at 11 pm the President of the Republic goes out onto the central balcony of the National Palace (Palacio Nacional), rings the bell (the same bell Hidalgo rang in 1810, brought to Mexico City in 1886) and cries to the people gathered in the square below, who enthusiastically respond "¡Viva!"

At the end of the third ¡Viva Mexico! the crowd goes wild waving flags, ringing noisemakers and spraying foam. Then fireworks light up the sky as the crowd cheers. Later the Mexican national anthem is sung.

The celebrations continue on the 16th with civic ceremonies and parades - the largest taking place in Mexico City, but perhaps the most touching festivities are those in small communities in which school children of all ages participate.

Like most festivities, certain foods are considered representative of Independence Day. A favorite is pozole, a soup made of hominy and pork. Other foods have the colors of the Mexican flag - red white and green, like chiles en nogada. And of course, it just wouldn't be a party without plenty of mezcal and tequila!

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 12:25 PM by Nicholas Fong

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