Mexico Festival of Independence

Mexico Festival of Independence

September 15-16
The Fiesta Patrias celebrates the anniversary of Mexico's independence. Although the festival itself goes on for the greater part of a week, it comes to a dramatic climax at 11 o'clock on the night of September 15 in Mexico City as crowds of merrymakers wait for the president to appear on the balcony of the National Palace and proclaim the famous Grito de Dolores ("cry of Dolores")—the "call to freedom" that the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (1753-1811) of the town of Dolores used to rouse the peasant population to fight for their independence in 1810. The people respond by cheering Viva MÉxico! and shooting off pistols and fireworks.
The Festival of Independence is celebrated in smaller communities throughout Mexico in much the same way, with the local mayor reciting the Grito de Dolores at precisely 11 o'clock.
The following day is Independence Day, which is celebrated with fireworks, the ringing of cathedral bells, and a huge military parade. One of the big events on Independence Day is the drawing for the National Lottery. Tickets are inexpensive, and the winner becomes an instant millionaire. Almost everyone watches the drawing on television or listens to the radio to see who wins.
CONTACTS:
Mexico Tourism Board
21 E. 63rd St., Fl. 3
New York, NY 10021
800-446-3942 or 212-821-0314; fax: 212-821-0367
www.visitmexico.com
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 155
BkFest-1937, p. 229
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 135
NatlHolWrld-1968, p. 172