- Mexico‘s Independence Day: A Celebration That Transcends Borders
- Editorial: Celebrating and Educating
- Conclusion: Embrace Cultural Understanding
- You might want to read !
Mexico‘s Independence Day: A Celebration That Transcends Borders
The Fight for Independence
Mexico‘s Independence Day, celebrated on September 16th, is a significant event that is often confused with the U.S.-centric celebration of Cinco de Mayo. However, the fight for independence in Mexico began long before the famous battle of Puebla in 1862. Understanding the true origins and significance of Mexico‘s Independence Day is crucial to appreciating the cultural heritage it represents.
The fight for independence against Spanish forces, who controlled Mexico for over 300 years, began on September 16, 1810. Inspired by what is known as “El Grito de Dolores” or the battle cry, Catholic priest Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the bells of his parish and called on the Mexican population to rise up against the Spanish authorities. This call to arms marked the beginning of a struggle that would last for 11 years.
The Celebration in Mexico
Every year on September 16th, Mexico commemorates its Independence Day with various traditions and festivities. The month of September is known as “Mes de la Patria,” or patriotic month. The streets are filled with vendors selling Mexican flags, rattles, and traditional clothing, such as folkloric skirts, peasant blouses, shawls, zarapes, and huarache sandals.
In schools, classrooms are decorated with green, white, and red papel picado (perforated paper), and patriotic parties are organized where students gather to share Mexican dishes and watch ballet folklórico performances. The highlight of the celebration is the performance of “El Grito de Dolores,” which takes place in the National Palace in Mexico City.
During “El Grito de Dolores,” the current president of Mexico receives the flag from a military escort made up of students from the Heroic Military College. The president then addresses the attendees in the Zócalo esplanade, ringing out the battle cry and paying tribute to the heroes of independence. Cities and organizations throughout the country plan events focused on this celebration, providing opportunities for people to come together and learn about Mexican culture.
Mexican Independence Day in the United States
The celebration of Mexican Independence Day extends beyond the borders of Mexico, with Mexican communities in the United States organizing events to commemorate this important date. The General Consulate of Mexico, located in major cities such as Las Vegas, New York, and Miami, plays a crucial role in organizing community events that feature the performance of “El Grito de Dolores.”
Universities, media groups, and local organizations also contribute to the celebration in cities with significant Mexican populations. These events range from “El Grito” ceremonies and concerts featuring famous Mexican musicians to art exhibitions and festivals for the whole family. The aim is to educate and emphasize the importance of Mexican culture and history for those living in the United States.
Mexican Independence Day vs. Cinco de Mayo
Confusion persists in the United States regarding the dates of Mexico‘s Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo. While Cinco de Mayo has become a popular holiday to celebrate Mexican culture, it is relatively minor in Mexico itself. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla, a victory against French troops in 1862.
Irasema Coronado, director of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University, notes that many misunderstand the significance of both holidays. She suggests that while May 5th has become commercialized and often confused with Mexican Independence Day, the true significance of the latter lies in understanding the fight for freedom against Spanish colonization.
Hispanic Heritage Month
Another celebration that is closely tied to Mexican independence is Hispanic Heritage Month, commemorated in the United States between September 15th and October 15th. This month provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements, traditions, and stories of Latino or Hispanic people.
Hispanic Heritage Month also coincides with the anniversaries of the independence of several Latin American countries, including Mexico. Recognized as a holiday by law since 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month encourages people to reflect on the historical and cultural contributions of Hispanic communities in the United States.
Editorial: Celebrating and Educating
Mexico‘s Independence Day is not only a celebration of the country’s rich history but also an occasion to reflect on the shared connections between Mexico and the United States. It is imperative for Latinos of Mexican origin to study and understand the history of both countries, allowing them to educate others about the significance of accurately celebrating Mexico‘s origins.
By participating in community events, individuals can learn more about Mexican culture, traditions, and the struggles faced during the fight for independence. These celebrations provide an opportunity for cultures to mingle, fostering understanding and appreciation for the diverse heritage that exists within our society.
Conclusion: Embrace Cultural Understanding
As the United States continues to become more diverse, it is crucial to embrace cultural understanding and appreciation. Mexican Independence Day serves as a reminder of the historical ties between our two nations and the contributions of Mexican-Americans to our society.
Let us use this occasion to learn, celebrate, and bridge the gap between cultures. By doing so, we can foster a deeper understanding and forge stronger connections between the people of Mexico and the United States.
<< photo by Criativa Pix Fotografia >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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