September, the "month of the Fatherland", puts Mexico in jubilation. Between folkloric celebrations and historical commemorations, the “Grito de la independencia” (the “Cry of independence”) is reproduced in all the towns on the 15th, the eve of the national holiday. This ritual evokes the call that the priest Hidalgo launched on September 16, 1810, for a popular uprising: it was the starting point of a long struggle for independence. Today, it is the “Fiestas Patrias”, a month of galvanization of national pride, in a most festive atmosphere.
Hidalgo, a revolutionary priest
1808: Napoleon invades Spain. On the other side of the Atlantic, Mexico is restless. Creoles, mestizos and blacks suffer from the inequalities inherited from colonization. The influence of the declaration of independence of the United States (1776), the French Revolution and the Enlightenment gave rise to a revolutionary movement. In 1810, the insurgents decided to take action while Spain was occupied by France.
The priest Miguel Hidalgo, of the city of Dolores, in the northeast of Mexico, will launch the start of the war of independence with his famous “Grito de la independencia”: on the morning of September 16, 1810, he frees the prisoners of his city, rings the bell of his parish to reunite his faithful. Punctuated by a vibrant “Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! ”, His speech will be forever etched in our memories.
The long road to independence
The aborted revolution of 1810 was followed by political chaos and the war of independence lasted 11 years. In 1821, Viceroy Odonoju and General Iturbide, architect of the revolution, ended up signing the Treaty of Cordoba: Mexico was free… But its political torments were not over. Democracy will take decades to take hold.
In his eventful history which has known regencies, emperors, dictators, and other authoritarian presidents, General Porfirio Diaz, a sort of Mexican Napoleon, has a good place. Elected in 1876, he raised the country and ruled it with an iron fist for nearly thirty-five years. It was he who, when he came to power, established the “Grito” ceremony as a celebration of the Fatherland. It is even said that he would have chosen September 15 (eve of the national holiday) because it is his birthday ...
Since then, on the night of September 15 to 16, the President of the Republic revives the cry of the priest Hidalgo and rings the bell of the National Palace. At 23 pm, he gives a speech, re-enacting Dolores' appeal, from the balcony of the palace in Constitution Square (Mexico City's “Zócalo”, one of the largest squares in the world). The flag of Mexico rises, as the President shouts: “Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! », Repeated by the crowd. The event attracts over 500 spectators each year. This ceremony is reproduced in every city and at dawn on September 000 the national military parade goes through Mexico City.
At the windows, on cars and buses, fly the flags in the colors of Mexico. National pride animates the cities, we taste traditional dishes. The Mariachis, famous Mexican musicians, have a blast… But the most authentic celebration is in Dolores, in the state of Guanajato (north-west of Mexico). City of Hidalgo, nicknamed "cradle of independence", it welcomes the President of the Republic every four years to celebrate the event.
Independence Cavalcade in Dolores
Dolores values her “Fiestas Patrias” more than anything. With the famous “Grito” on the program, but also dances, markets, celebrations and folk music. Among the highlights: from September 15 to 28, a parade of more than a thousand horsemen will follow the path traveled by Miguel Hidalgo and the revolutionaries through the state of Guanajuato. 260 carved eagle heads mark the route, which begins in San Felipe and ends in the city of Guanajuato. At each stop, ceremonies commemorate the raising of the revolutionary troops.
But Dolores is also known for its ceramic, called talavera. The craftsmen's shops are numerous and bring the city to life with their colorful creations, in the spirit of the purest Mexican folklore. To visit: the Independence Museum, built in the old prison from which Hidalgo freed the prisoners in his revolutionary action. Today, the museum houses an exhibition retracing the life of the priest and temporary exhibitions on the personalities and history of the city.
Mexico Tourist Board
Information about the city of Dolores
Where to sleep ?
-Hotel Habana: Cuba 77, Tel: 55-18-15-89. One of the best value for money in the city, very close to Zócalo, the large central square, one of the most beautiful in the world.
- Museo y Casa de Don Miguel Hidalgo (Museum and house of Don Miguel Hidalgo). Here lived the priest Hidalgo between 1804 and 1810. A collection of period furniture, his personal objects and documents. Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 17:45 p.m.
- Museo de la Independencia (Independence Museum): national monument, the building was built in the 16th century and used as a prison. On September 1810, 52, Hidalgo released the prisoners who joined him in his struggle for independence. Information on (+01) 800 714 1086 XNUMX.