Mexican Independence Day

The Mexican flag flying at the National Palace in Mexico City

The History

On September 16, Mexico celebrates its Independence Day from Spain. September 16th marks the day that the call for revolution was first given in 1810 after 300 years of enslavement and rule by Spain. That call for independence came from Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest who gave a moving speech in the Mexican town of Dolores, Hidalgo. He then took up the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and people followed him, creating a large hodgepodge army determined to fight for independence. Father Hidalgo was captured and killed in the first year of fighting, but over the next 11 years, the Mexican War of Independence waged on through a series of local and regional struggles (as opposed to a single coherent event) that finally ended on September 27, 1821.

Celebrations Today

Today, Mexican Independence day is a two-day event, beginning the night before Independence Day. On the 15th of September at 11pm, the president of Mexico steps out onto the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City and performs a reenactment of Father Hidalgo’s moving speech for revolution in “El Grito de Dolores” (The Cry of Dolores). The speech is broadcast around the world. The next day, September 16th, is a big day of independence celebrations with parades, parties, and fireworks taking place throughout the nation.

How You Can Celebrate

In the weeks leading up to Independence Day, you’ll notice a lot of Mexican flags and other items in the colors of Mexico’s flag being sold. The red white and green of the Mexican flag have symbolic meaning with the green representing independence or hope, the white representing purity or the religious heart of the Mexican culture, and the red symbolizing union. One of Mexico’s famous dishes, chiles en nogada, is prevalent around this time. The dish is made of poblano chiles stuffed with picadillo, covered with a walnut-based cream sauce called nogada, and topped with pomegranate seeds and parsley. The red, white, and green colors make it the perfect patriotic dish.

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