2010 – A Special Year For Mexico… Viva Mexico!

Mexican flagEvery year on the 16th September, millions of Mexicans around the world celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule. For almost 300 years, the indigenous peoples of Mexico had suffered from the ruthless dictatorship of the Spaniards.  

This year is a very special year for Mexico as it is the bicentenary of Mexico’s independence from Spain. With parties in many zocalos around Mexico on the 15th September and then parades on the 16th September, it was truly a large fiesta for the country.

The story of this historial event began in 1521 when 500 Spaniards arrived on the shores of Mexico led by Hernan Cortes. At this time in Mexico, the Aztecs had already built a huge empire that ruled over all of Mesoamérica but its people were subjected to a dictatorship type rule. The indigenous peoples grew tired of their hardships living in this empire and when the Spaniards arrived, they saw this as a way to help their plight and get rid of their ruler. Unfortunately, the indigenous peoples didn’t realise that although they had helped the Spaniards to get rid of their own oppressor, they had unwittingly opened themselves up to living under an even worse one- Spanish rule. The new colony was called Nuevo Espana.  

After almost 300 years of oppression, the generations of Mexican peoples decided that it was time to rid their country of Spanish rule. In 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte had invaded Spain and imposed his brother, José Bonaparte, as the king. The peoples of Mexico saw this as an opportunity to gain independence from Spain.  

On the morning of the 16th September 1810, Father Hidalgo, gathered quite a few other conspirators, and rang his church bell to call everyone to fight for liberty. This began 10 years of the War of Independence in Mexico.  

At 11pm on the evening of the 15th September each year, thousands of people gather together in the main square (also known as a plaza or zocalo) in their towns and cities for El Grito. El Grito refers to the Cry of Independence. This re-enacts the moment Father Hidalgo gathered all his followers in 1810. The Mexican flag is emblazoned across streets, houses, buildings and even cars. A huge celebration ensues with festivities including dancing, food stalls, drinking, fireworks and music by Mariachi bands.  

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For images of the fiestas and celebrations around Mexico this September click here

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