Mexico's Independence Day: A Celebration for Mexicans in...

“Mexico’s Independence Day: A Celebration for Mexicans in America”

Mexico’s Independence Day celebrated on September 16th, is often intertwined with the American-centric celebration of “Cinco de Mayo,” to the extent that those who identify as Mexican may recognize it. While there exists a historical connection between the state of Arizona and Mexico, with 89% of its Mexican heritage population, according to the Pew Research Center, those who have grown up in the United States, educated, and accomplished, maintain various memories of how and when Mexico’s independence is celebrated.

Across the United States, especially in Arizona, it’s crucial to understand how Mexico’s struggle for independence began and how this celebration has crossed borders for over 200 years.

How is Mexico’s Independence Day Celebrated?

In Mexico, September is known as the patriotic month because it commemorates the start of the fight for independence against Spanish forces on the 16th of September, a struggle that lasted for over 300 years.

As the days pass, streets are adorned with various-sized Mexican flags, banners, and traditional clothing—folkloric skirts, farmers’ blouses, shawls, sombreros, and vendors selling crafts and horchata fill the streets. In schools, classrooms are decorated with green, white, and red papel picado, and patriotic parties are organized where students come together to distribute Mexican dishes and watch baile folklórico performances.

“What’s the story behind ‘El Grito de Dolores,’ and how did the battle get started?”

This celebration traces back to the early morning of September 16, 1810, when Catholic priest Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang his parish’s bells and demanded arms against Spanish rulers in a battle that would continue for 11 years.

Every year, a cry for battle is reenacted at Mexico’s National Palace in the presence of the current President. A military detachment, comprising students from the Heroic Military College, presents the Mexican flag inside the Ambassador’s Hall while the national anthem plays. Subsequently, the President appears on the balcony, echoing the same cry for battle that heroes of independence like Miguel Hidalgo, José María Morelos y Pavón, Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, and Ignacio Allende raised.

Cities and organizations across the country plan programs that focus on the celebration, allowing people to come together and learn about Mexican culture.

How is Mexico’s Independence Celebrated in America?

Mexico's
Mexico’s

Biennially, the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix, Arizona, hosts “El Grito,” a significant event in the state’s capital. The Mexican Consulate, located in major cities like Las Vegas, New York, and Miami, also coordinates community festivities featuring cries of battle. Furthermore, various universities, media groups, and local organizations prepare events in these cities with a substantial Mexican population.

The festivities in El Grito, from ceremonies to concerts, and celebrations for entire families, emphasize the importance of educating and highlighting the significance of history for those living in the United States.

According to Irasema Coronado, the director of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University, the geographic proximity of Mexico in Arizona has fostered cultural exchange and mutual heritage among Mexican-descendant populations in the United States. She explains, “A lot of folks who hail from Mexico and received their education and socialization there share a unique bond with Mexican holidays because they’ve grown up celebrating them.” as we do with the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Presidents’ Day. It becomes part of who we are and what we know.”

Mexico’s Independence vs. Cinco de Mayo

According to Coronado, there is significant confusion regarding when Mexico’s independence is celebrated in the United States. Is May 5th just a day for businesses to profit? Some even greet with “Happy Cinco de Mayo,” mistakenly thinking it’s celebrated on that date. This is a misconception, and in my opinion, September 16th faces a similar misunderstanding.

Whereas in America, May 5th has become a day to celebrate Mexican culture, in Mexico, it’s a smaller event known as the “Battle of Puebla,” commemorating the victory against French forces who attempted to establish their reign in Mexican territory in 1862.

Another celebration closely related to this is Mexico’s Independence from Hispanic Cultural Heritage Month, observed between September 15th and October 15th in the United States.

Throughout this month, people engage in celebrations that honor Latin or Hispanic heritage, celebrating achievements, traditions, and stories of Latino and Hispanic communities.

Thanks to President Lyndon B. Johnson, it has been officially recognized as a month of celebration since 1968. During these days, several Latin American countries, including Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, celebrate their independence anniversaries.

Coronado emphasizes that it’s the responsibility of Mexican-American communities to study the history of both the United States and Mexico to understand the importance of their mutual relationship and to educate others about celebrating Mexico’s beginnings correctly.

conclusion:

In a nutshell, Mexico’s Independence Day is a vibrant celebration that brings together people from different backgrounds to commemorate the rich history and culture of Mexico. It’s a time for unity, festivities, and sharing the stories of those who fought for freedom. Whether you’re in Mexico or the United States, it’s a day to cherish and celebrate the enduring spirit of a nation. Happy Independence Day!

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