Grab a traditional Mexican sombrero and get ready to over-indulge in some high quality tequila, because the Mexican Independence Day celebration, or El Grito, as it is often referred to by locals, is just around the corner, and we are all getting ready to shout Viva Mexico!
If you happen to be in Mexico on the night of September 15, then get ready to experience the biggest and loudest Mexican Fiesta you’ve ever seen –a celebration filled with authentic Mexican food, tequila, music, fireworks, dancing, and lots of shouting. While many Americans might think that Cinco de Mayo is one of the most important Mexican holidays, I think it’s safe to say that Mexican Independence Day is THE most important celebration that takes place south of the border.
The Mexican Independence Day celebration starts on the night of September 15, when thousands of people gather outside of the zócalo, or main square in Mexico City, and wait for the President to re-enact the historic Grito de Dolores –a battle cry uttered by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Mexican Catholic priest and leader of the Mexican War of Independence, on September 16, 1810. This event, which urged people to revolt against the Spanish colonial government in Mexico, is considered the beginning of Mexico’s battle for independence. During the re-enactment, the Mexican President addresses the crowd from the balcony of the National Palace and shouts: “Viva Mexico!” To which the excited crowd shouts back: “Viva!”
But don’t worry; you don’t have to be in Mexico City to partake in this exciting moment. The ceremony is broadcasted nationally, so all those who are celebrating in different hotels, restaurants, bars, and clubs across Mexico, can still be there in spirit, and join in the fun as everyone shouts Viva Mexico!
Insider Tip: If you are not afraid of crowds and would like to experience El Grito the way the locals do, then head on over to the town’s main plaza, or town square. Smaller-scale re-enactments of the Grito de Dolores are repeated in most towns and villages across Mexico. Make sure you arrive early to get a good spot and wear some traditional Mexican clothes the way locals do. Be prepared for a fun-filled night of one-too-many tequila shots and perhaps one-too-many tamales, we promise we won’t tell.