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Mexican Independence Day is by far one of the biggest, brightest, and loudest celebrations in Mexico, and while it’s easy to join in on the festivities, it’s important to also know a little of the history behind this historic celebration. When is Mexican Independence Day? This celebration falls on September 15 and 16, and as you get ready to don your green, white, and red, these Mexican Independence Day facts will make the celebrations more exciting to experience.


1. The War for Freedom was Led by a Priest.

The cry of independence wasn’t first started by a general or a politician but by a local priest, Miguel Hidalgo. In 1810, as the independence movement was beginning, Hidalgo summoned the people of Dolores, Mexico to the church where he gave a passionate speech for freedom: el grito de Dolores.

2. The Grito on September 15 Kicks Off the Celebration.

This cry of independenceis reenacted every year all over Mexico on the eve of Independence Day, but the most famous grito, or cry, is led by the president in Mexico City. From the National Palace, the president cries these famous words and rings the bell from the church in Dolores, as thousands of spectators chant back “Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!” Being a part of these Mexican Independence Day traditions will fill you with pride for Mexico, no matter where you’re from.

3. It’s a Two-Day Celebration.

Because Hidalgo’s original cry of independence was in the middle of the night, the Mexican Independence Day celebration lasts two days, with the grito on the 15th and Independence Day on the 16th. While this causes many people to second guess when is the Mexican Independence Day, it just gives everyone more time to celebrate. The 16th typically includes a Mexican Independence Day parade, lively music, and delicious food. It should be noted that the cry of independence won’t take place in many states this year due to the pandemic, however, the President of Mexico has assured everyone that the traditional celebration in Mexico City is still in the plans.

4. The Day Starts with a Mexican Independence Day Parade.

Kick off your celebrations by attending a local Mexican Independence Day parade. In the procession, you’ll spot the military marching, schools performing, and charros riding their horses. As you listen to mariachi and banda music, you’ll feel the vibrant culture of the country and experience its rich Mexican Independence Day traditions.

5. The Mexican Independence Day Celebrates the Beginning of the War.

After his moving speech, Hidalgo helped lead an armed resistance, and September 16th marks the start of the War for Independence. Choosing this date for the Mexican Independence Day celebration honors the birth of a movement and a new nation.

6. The War for Independence Lasted 11 Years.

Another one of the little-known Mexican Independence Day facts is that freedom was not easily won, and the war raged on for 11 years. Hidalgo himself did not live to see a free Mexico. Finally in 1821, the Spanish crown recognized Mexican independence, and the war was over.

7. The U.S. and France both Supported Mexico.

The turn of the 19th century saw countries around the world revolting, and since the U.S. and France had both recently overthrown monarchical rule, they supported Mexico’s independence from Spain. 

8. Chiles en Nogada are a Traditional Food.

No list of Mexican Independence Day traditions is complete without the bold flavors and hearty ingredients of traditional Mexican foods. One of the most important Mexican Independence Day facts to know is that chiles en nogada are the traditional food for September 16. These stuffed green chiles are topped with a white walnut sauce and red pomegranate seeds, showcasing all the colors of the Mexican flag. 

9. Cinco de Mayo is a Different Holiday

Many people who ask “When is Mexican Independence Day?” are surprised to find out that it’s not Cinco de Mayo. May 5 celebrates a different battle in a war with the French. While many businesses around the country observe this holiday, it comes nowhere near the festivities of the Mexican Independence Day celebration.

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