Dia de la Independencia: Mexican Independence Day

Before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1519 with the goal of colonizing the territory that would later become Mexico, the country was populated by a large number of Indian tribes that were quite different from one another in every aspect. Each group had its own unique identity that varied widely on everything from religious practices to language to economics to their governing structure. Under Spanish rule, the country became more cohesive in these respects. Ultimately, it was the desire to oust the Spanish occupiers that united the people of Mexico in a common cause . After nearly a century of being under Spanish rule, the Mexican people joined together to fight for an independent nation.

On September 16, 1810, in the town of Dolores, Miguel Hidalgo, famously called for a revolt against the Spanish occupation of Mexico. The speech took place in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, and is often referred to as the cry of independence, El Grito de la Independencia. Hidalgo was a catholic priest who had gone against the tradition of celibacy by getting married and fathering children. His army fought against Spanish soldiers, leading to his capture and execution in 1811. The cause was carried on by survivors, waging on for ten more years after Hidalgo’s demise.

The Mexican people finally won their hard-fought freedom from the Spaniards on September 28, 1821. However, September 16th is still considered the official national day of independance, Dia de la Indepencia, and is celebrated across the country with parades, fireworks, parties, and patriotic displays in the colors of the Mexican flag, red, green and white.

Though there is a deep and abiding national pride, however, centuries after becoming an independent, united country, the Mexican people are still dedicated to paying homage to their ancestors. Never forgetting their roots, they continue to honor their heritage through local art, festivals, and other cultural practices.

Guest blogger, Jacqui Keady, is a freelance writer and lifelong reader of mystery and romance novels. She lives in Folsom, California with her husband of nearly 30 years and two beloved dogs.