Literally, it translates to “The Shout”.
Culturally, it carries a ton of weight.
Historically, it has moved mountains.
July 4th, 1776. We all know it marks the day of our independence from our previous king, and his country of Britain. That exact date is representative of the day our founding fathers officially declared our independence. We had fought some fights prior to it and had plenty more to fight afterward but, as of that day, (as far as early Americans were concerned), we no longer fell under concern of “The Brits”.
Though the officially significant day of independence lies a bit earlier in Mexico’s timeline of its struggle for independence from Spain, be assured that the day is every bit as important to our vecinos del sur.
Just before midnight September 15th, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla – a priest in Dolores, Mexico more commonly referred to as “Father Hidalgo” – began ringing the town’s church bell, wildly hailing the townspeople to gather in the square. “El Grito” is what followed. Though the fine details of his rally cry are unclear, he summoned his people to revolt, and history was made.
Unlike our own Independence Day, Mexico’s day marks the very beginning of their story of struggle. The war for Mexican independence would span some 14 years. Father Hidalgo and his early army of rag-tags were defeated. His torch was taken up by other leaders of the cause including Jose Morelos and the first (unsuccessful) emperor of Mexico Augustine de Iturbide.
In 1824 though, after years of wartime trials and tribulations, the Mexican Declaration of Independence was adopted and Guadalupe Victoria became the very first President of Mexico.
It is largely mistaken, stateside, that Cinco de Mayo serves as the date of independence for Mexico. Though we’ll still toast an ice-cold cerveza and a plate of tacos with friends, that holiday is largely a commercialized celebration (think St Patricks Day, or Mardi Gras for comparison).
Our friends at La Costenita asked if we’d like to celebrate El Grito de la Independencia alongside them; as much fun as we’ve had doing the same for Cinco de Mayo, we were happy to oblige!
Grab a few friends and come join the party; we’ll bring the mules!