In my last DBD WAAAAAYYYYYY back on 5.5.10, I wrote: "Mexican Independence Day is actually September 16th and has a beautiful history and deep significance." I know that most of you have been waiting for that special day with bated breath. Well, that day is now! This is that day! So welcome, young and old alike, and come with me on a trip down memory lane, after the jump.
For most of its history, Mexico was a colony of Spain. But, in 1810, after hundreds of years of Spanish suckitude, Mexicans were ready for a revoltution. So it was that a group of revolutionaries, one of which was the now mythic Priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, were planning a revolt. They were betrayed and many of their number were arrested on the evening of September 15th. Fearing that the few remaining rebels would soon be arrested and their plan come to ruin, Father Hidalgo sent his brother Mauricio, Ignacio Allende, and Mariano Abasolo to free their comrades. The men were successful in freeing 80 memebers of the group and they gathered where Miguel Hidalgo had planned for the church bells to ring near midnight.
Once the men and the congregation were assembled, Father Hidalgo made this now famous cry:
My children: a new dispensation comes to us today. Will you receive it? Will you free yourselves? Will you recover the lands stolen three hundred years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once… Will you defend your religion and your rights as true patriots? Long live our Lady of Guadalupe! Death to bad government! Death to the gachupines!
A little background here, the Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico (you can see her the background of Father Hidalgo's portrait,) revered above everyone except God. Gachupin is a term Mexicans of the day had for Spaniards. OK. Back to the story
Who wouldn't follow THIS warrior priest into battle?
This cry is to Mexicans what the signing of the Declaration of Independence is to us. The Mexican War of Independence is considered to have commenced that instant eventhough the first battle, The Battle of Guanajuato, was not fought until four days later. The War lasted for the next 11 years, ending on August 21, 1821 after many twists and turns, which you can read about if you follow the link.
Nowadays in Mexico, it is customary for the President to utter a cry at the stroke of midnight on September 16th in the Zocalo, with 500K people in attendance. Similar celebrations occur in cities across the country with Mayors or Governors performing the yell. September 16th is one of the most beloved holidays in Mexico; coming in second only to Christmas. The yell is televised all over the country, and Spanish stations broadcast is across the US. So if you notice the few Mexicans out today being a little "under the weather," now you know why.
Happy 200th Birthday Mexico!