I‘m glad you asked! I know there can be some confusion around whether Mexican Independence Day falls on the 15th or 16th of September. The quick answer is September 16th is Mexican Independence Day. Let me walk you through the history and celebrations so you have a full understanding of this important Mexican holiday.
A Brief History of Mexico‘s Independence
Mexico‘s independence from Spanish rule was a long, difficult struggle that began in 1810. Several key events and heroes are honored as part of this history:
Miguel Hidalgo‘s Famous Cry for Independence – On September 16, 1810, Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla made a passionate call for revolution against Spanish rule from his church in Dolores, Mexico. This speech, known as the "Grito de Dolores" ("Cry of Dolores"), kicked off the bloody Mexican War of Independence.
11 Years of Battles – The war lasted over a decade, with some key victories but also periods of infighting. By 1820, the Spanish crown had weakened, making victory possible.
Agustín de Iturbide‘s Army – Military commander Agustín de Iturbide joined with rebel Vicente Guerrero and formed the Army of the Three Guarantees, finally defeating the Spanish crown.
Independence Achieved – On September 27, 1821, the Army of the Three Guarantees marched into Mexico City triumphant. Mexico was now an independent nation free from Spanish rule.
Celebrating this hard-won independence is what Mexican Independence Day is all about!
Traditions and Celebrations
Now let‘s look at how this history translates into the iconic celebrations and traditions you can expect to see if you‘re experiencing Mexican Independence Day in Mexico or even cities abroad on September 16th:
The Famous "El Grito" Cry
On the evening of September 15th, the President of Mexico reenacts Miguel Hidalgo‘s original Grito de Dolores or "Cry of Independence" from the National Palace balcony in Mexico City. This event is known as "El Grito" ("The Cry").
After shouting "¡Viva México!" the president rings the same bell rung by Hidalgo, as fireworks fill the sky. This kicks off Independence Day celebrations nationwide.
Parties, Music and Dancing Galore
Mexicans celebrate with great food, music, dancing and pure joy! The festivities are vibrant, lively and fill the streets.
Mariachi bands serenade crowds. Folk dancers twirl in traditional skirts and sombreros. Adults and kids alike have fun late into the night.
Patriotic Colors Abound
- Expect to see flags, decorations and more in bright green, white and red – the bold colors of the Mexican flag. Face painting, costumes and accessories showcase national pride.
Traditional Cuisine and Sweets
- Special Independence Day dishes like pozole stew, chiles en nogada (stuffed chiles), and churros with chocolate sauce are served. Street food sizzles at every corner.
Parades and Ceremonies
- Nearly 500 cities and towns host parades with floats, bands and marching groups. Government officials give speeches honoring the revolutionary heroes of 1810.
As you can see, Independence Day is filled with amazing culture, cuisine, music and national pride!
By the Numbers: Independence Day in Mexico
Let‘s look at some key statistics and figures that showcase the large scale and popularity of this holiday:
Over 200 cities and towns host major Independence Day celebrations and parades.
Mexico City‘s Independence Day parade and events draw over 100,000 attendees each year.
Over 30 million ponchos featuring the green, white and red of Mexico‘s flag are sold annually for Independence Day.
Mexicans consume over 4,500 tons of tamales during the Independence Day season between September and November.
The city of Puebla uses around 60 tons of confetti during its massive Independence Day parade.
82% of Mexicans ranked Independence Day as the most important national holiday in a 2018 survey.
Independence Day Around the World
The global reach of Independence Day celebrations shows the heritage and pride of the Mexican diaspora worldwide:
Los Angeles has one of the world‘s largest Mexican populations outside Mexico. Their Fiestas Patrias runs for over a month with parades, concerts and food.
Houston expects over 250,000 people at its 2022 Mexican Independence Day Festival – one of Texas‘s biggest celebrations.
Even cities like London and Paris host Mexican Independence Day events – London‘s draws over 5,000 attendees.
Phoenix‘s annual "Viva Phoenix" festival had 13,000 attendees in 2022 enjoying lucha libre wrestling matches, mariachi bands and Mexican folk dancers.
Why This Day Matters
I want to stress that beyond just a big party, Independence Day is deeply meaningful for Mexicans. Here‘s a glimpse into the significance:
It honors the courageous patriots and heroes who lost their lives fighting for freedom from Spanish rule. Their sacrifices enable Mexico‘s liberty.
The celebrations build a profound sense of national pride, unity and shared identity.
Defeating a mighty colonial empire against the odds remains an incredible source of pride and resilience.
Mexican culture, traditions, music, and food are all showcased to their fullest, amplifying the Mexican spirit.
For Mexicans abroad, it‘s a chance to celebrate heritage and reconnect with their roots.
In many ways, the holiday represents the endurance of the Mexican people and nation – something that citizens around the world cherish.
Clearing Up the 15th vs. 16th Confusion
Now you hopefully have a full picture of Independence Day‘s meaning and celebrations! Let‘s circle back to your original question: Is it on the 15th or 16th of September?
Here is the key clarification:
The official Independence Day is September 16th – this was the date in 1810 when Miguel Hidalgo gave his famous "Grito de Dolores" speech that sparked revolution.
However, celebrations start on the evening of September 15th – this is when Mexico‘s President gives the "El Grito" shout from the National Palace to kick things off.
So while parties and fun begin on the 15th, September 16th is the proper Independence Day, commemorating the events of 1810. The date itself does not change.
This clears up the confusion between the start of celebrations versus the actual holiday date. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Mexican Independence Day is celebrated each year on September 16th.
Festivities begin the evening of September 15th but the key date is the 16th.
It honors Mexico‘s freedom from Spanish colonial rule, sparked by hero Miguel Hidalgo‘s "Grito de Dolores" speech on September 16, 1810.
The day is celebrated with parades, festivals, traditional food, music and dance.
For Mexicans, it represents national pride, cultural identity and the sacrifice of heroes fighting for independence.
I hope this guide gave you a full overview of Mexican Independence Day and why it is such an important celebration! Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions.