Viva La Independencia!

The more you learn about Mexico and its people, the more you realize that there is quite possibly no prouder culture in the world. The citizens of Mexico honor their ancestors and history in many ways, and celebrate the very diverse cultural traditions around the country. There is also a strong belief system that shared on a national level, including the importance of honoring home and family, patriotism, keeping local customs alive, and never letting an important date in history go by without acknowledgment. Mexicans celebrate both local historical and cultural traditions, which vary from one city or township to the next, as well as national ones..

One of the most important events that is celebrated all across the country is El Dia de la Independencia, September 16th. On that morning in the year of 1810, a priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla sounded the bell of his church and stood on its steps delivering a speech. He called for an uprising against the oppressive Spanish rulers that had invaded and governed Mexico for the past three hundred years. The war that followed was long and difficult, and Mexico was not able to officially declare its independence from Spain until September 28, 1821. To this day, however, Mexicans celebrate their independence on September 16th, the date that Father Hidalgo y Costilla made the call to arms.

Despite the holiday often being referred to as dieciséis de Septiembre (the 16th of September), Mexicans do not wait until that day to begin the festivities. Starting on the first of the month, buildings, streets and homes are decorated with green, red and white, the colors of the Mexican flag. In fact, the entire month is referred to as el mes de las patria (the month of the homeland), and is considered to be the most important of the patriotic holidays.

The festivities start to really heat up on the evening of September 15th, when people gather in town squares around the country and chant Viva Mexico! The 16th is a full day of celebrations, including parades, civic ceremonies and many fiestas. It’s a national holiday and schools, banks and businesses are all closed. Wherever you are in Mexico on this day, you will witness great patriotism and national pride among the citizens of a country that fought long and hard to be able to call themselves independent.

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