This past weekend we celebrated Mexican Independence Day in Isla. Día de la Independencia is a national holiday in Mexico celebrating Mexico’s independence from Spain’s rule and also serves as a way to honor the ones who fought and died for its independence.
The elaborate celebrations actually began on Saturday, September 15th, the day prior to Independence Day. National leaders around the country reenact El Grito de Dolores or the Cry of Dolores, given by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla on September 15th, 1810, urging the citizens to revolt and band together to gain Mexico’s freedom from Spanish rule. His plea worked and the masses organized and began the Mexican War of Independence. In 1821, the Spaniards rule of Mexico ended and Mexico had successfully gained its independence! September 16th is now celebrated annually, as the beginning of that freedom and celebrated with gusto!
Motos, bicycles, golf carts, cars, houses, store fronts and restaurants were bedecked with Mexican flags, lights, pinwheels, streamers and banners for Las Fiestas Patrias (the patriotic festivals). Street vendors were out in record numbers, as were the island’s residents and visitors. Mexico is a country with great historical and cultural pride, and the locals know how to throw parties! Food was everywhere in green, red and white... the colors of the flag. Donuts, cookies, cakes all brightly decorated were readily available.
Many of us, not from Mexico, confuse Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), as Mexico’s Independence Day, but if you remember from this post, May 5th celebrates Mexico’s surprising victory over a well-organized and larger French army in the Battle of Puebla, May 5th, 1862. That day goes relatively unnoticed in Mexico. But September 16th.... now that’s a party!! “Viva Mexico”! --E