What is “El Grito de Dolores”?
September 16, 2009
In the early nineteenth century, Mexico, with a little influence from the US and France, began talking about a revolt against Spain. Father Miguel Hidalgo from Dolores, Mexico, was a leader of one of the rallying groups.
Hidalgo and his officers were planning a revolt for late fall of 1810. The Spanish people found out about the revolt which led the Spanish Government to order the arrest of Hidalgo and his officers.
When Hidalgo found out, he called a meeting at his church. He rang the church bell on the night of September 15, 1810 to call his congregation to mass. Here Father Hidalgo rallied the people to fight.
He gave the speech which is now known as ‘Grito de Delores’, saying “Viva Mexico” and “Viva la independencia!” These famous words have been remembered and are said each year at the Independence Day celebrations.
Everyone fought together, including the Criollos (wealthy Mexicans of Spanish descent), Mesizos (children born from the marriage of a Spaniard and an Indian), and Indians. Armed with clubs, knives, stone slings, and ancient guns, they fought as they marched to Mexico City.
A battle took place in Guanajuato between the Spanish soldiers and Hidalgo’s followers. The army sacked the town, killing the Spaniards. They continued to fight on their way to the capital.
Before the year was over Father Hidalgo was captured and executed. Some people continued to fight for the cause and Father Hidalgo’s Grito de Delores (Cry of Delores) became the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence. The people fought for eleven years before they finally won their freedom.
Today Mexican Independence Day is a major celebration in Mexico and is bigger than Cinco de Mayo. It is celebrated with a fiesta (party). The celebrating begins on September 15 (the eve of Independence Day) where crowds of people gather in the zocalos (town meeting place) of cities, towns, and villages.
Then the president gives the Grito de Delores. He shouts “Viva Mexico” “Viva la independencia” and the crowd echoes back. People do this at the same time all across Mexico. While the crowd says this they fill the air with confetti, streamers and hoopla.
Followed by showers of red, white, and green fireworks.
The actual day of September 16 is similar to July Fourth in the US. There are rodeos, parades, bullfights, horseback rider performances and grand feasts.