16 de Septiembre is the day when people in Mexico get together to celebrate their independence. This holiday isn’t only celebrated in Mexico, but in the U.S. as well! Because the United States is a country where diversity is welcomed, there are many Hispanic people in the U.S. with Mexican family and blood. Even though this day is celebrated in both countries, they are celebrated differently.
History of 16 de Septiembre
In 1821, Mexico was being controlled by Spain. Mexico was just another country that had to help Spain with their resources. Spain didn’t pay much attention to the needs of the Mexican people, so many suffered in poverty. It was a really poor country since most of their things would be taken away by the Spaniards to take back to their country. Because of this, many people had hoped that the day would come in which Mexico could be its own nation. It was all hopes and dreams until someone actually wanted to make it come true.
Miguel Hidalgo was a priest and he was truly concerned for the daily struggles that the Mexicans had to go through. He didn’t want the Mexicans to be treated as objects of incomes any longer, so he started to do small changes which would eventually lead to a revolution. He started teaching Mexicans how to make money by sewing and doing simple things. One day, he decides to call out all of his people to stand up and fight against the Spanish. It is the morning of September 16th, 1810 when he gives his famous speech, ‘El grit de dolores.’ His speech is so inspirational that he creates the Mexican army and fights the Spaniards for independence. He died a year later but his legacy is what causes revolution in Mexico for the next few years until they gained independence in 1821.
Celebrating 16 de Septiembre in Mexico
Today, Mexican Independence Day is a major celebration in Mexico and it is bigger than Cinco de Mayo! The celebration actually begins on September 15th (the day before Mexico’s Independence Day). The crowds of people that want to celebrate gather in the zocalos (town meeting place) of cities, towns, and villages in Mexico. Since the Mexican flag is red, white and green, those colors are incorporated with the decorations around the town. In Mexico City a huge square is decorated with flags, flowers and lights of red, white, and green. People sell confetti, whistles, horns, and many other Mexican traditional items to help celebrate. There is also a lot of dinners and feasts that take place on September the 15th. Usually on this day, everyone is celebrating and waiting for the clock to strike at 12′ o clock.
There is music playing and everyone’s being active. It starts to get quieter during the night because many people want to pay attention to the time, waiting for their president to step out of his balcony. At the last strike of eleven, the president of Mexico steps out on the palace balcony, and rings the historic liberty bell that Father Hidalgo rang to call the people. Then the president gives the Grito de Dolores. He shouts “Viva Mexico” “Viva la independencia” and the crowd echoes back. This tradition is done all throughout Mexico all at the same time. There are many parades, celebrations, and each city’s plaza is filled with many people awaiting el “grito.”
Celebrating 16 de Septiembre in the U.S.
16 de Septiembre is different here in the U.S. The major difference is that here in the U.S., we don’t have a Mexican plaza. That is why 16 de Septiembre in the U.S. is celebrated just like the 4th of July. The concepts of 4th of July is kind of similar to a fiesta. The main colors to wear is your flag’s colors. So, for 4th of July you wear red, white and blue while in Mexico it’s red, white and green. Fireworks is a must here in the U.S., and you’ll mostly likely hear them go off all night during 16 de Septiembre.
A celebration wouldn’t be the same without food! There’s a lot of food made for this holiday. Some cities include folklorico dances, mariachi concerts, or host a celebration in their local plaza to celebrate this event. This is really popular in U.S.-Mexico border cities or cities that have a high Latino/a population.Just because they don’t live in Mexico anymore doesn’t mean that this holiday isn’t important for people with a Mexican culture. There are many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans here in the U.S. so it’s just as important to us as it is them.
It wasn’t easy to gain independence, but Mexico overcame and succeeded. 16 de Septiembre is very important because it cherishes Miguel Hidalgo and the promotion of Mexican morale. It’s really hard to get a group of people to agree on one thing, but Hidalgo was inspiring and gave the Mexican people hope that they could live a better life. He brought determination and it eventually lead to Mexico’s independence. So for 16 de septiembre, we fiesta!