The 4th of July is just around the corner and it will be a day filled with parades, backyard barbecues, and fireworks displays. The Stars & Stripes will fly high and color schemes for party decorations will definitely be red, white, and blue. The day will be spent with family and friends, enjoying a beautiful Summer day while celebrating the birth of our great country.
In Mexico, Independence Day is celebrated in a similar fashion but Mexicans, who never turn down a chance to have a party, start the festivities the night before the actual Independence Day. Mexico’s Independence Day is on September 16th, but the fiesta begins around 11pm on September 15th. Throughout the country, crowds gather at city hall buildings and in town squares to hear a government official give El Grito, which is basically a reenactment of the cry for independence that Miguel Hidalgo made on September 16, 1810.
In Cancun, El Grito is read at the city hall building, in downtown Cancun. Thousands of people line several blocks of Tulum Avenue, the street in front of city hall. The masses of people pack the streets, standing shoulder to shoulder. El Grito is read and, at the end, there are shouts of “Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!”. The revelers respond to each “Viva Mexico!” by shouting “Viva!” loud enough to be heard clearly a half-mile away. It is a moment filled with excitement and overwhelming pride. A fireworks display follows the moving speech. Afterwards, the massive crowd disperses and some families head home, while others hit the town and fill nearby restaurants and bars.
On September 16th, a parade is held on Tulum Avenue and the rest of the day is spent celebrating with family and friends. Many people have barbecues, just as we do in the United States. September 16th is usually a quiet, relaxed day, since most of the major partying occurred the night before.
Tourist-filled hotels and nightclubs hold celebrations as well. On the night of September 15, El Grito is given at many hotels and nightclubs televise the Mexican president giving El Grito in Mexico City’s great zocalo (town square). The Mexican National Anthem is played after El Grito and then the party gets started. Anywhere you go in Cancun, on September 15th, you’ll find a major party going on. It is a fun time, albeit crowded.