While Mexico’s Independence Day 2011 celebrations will, no doubt, pale compared to 2010’s Bicentennial festivities, visitors to Mexico City will still enjoy the capital’s rousing display of patriotism on September 15 and 16.
At around 11:00 pm on the 15th, President Calderon will appear on the balcony of the National Palace, which overlooks Plaza de la Constitución, or El Zócalo as its more commonly known. Before a crowd of thousands the president reenacts the stirring Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”), the historic moment in 1810 when Miguel Hidalgo, a Roman Catholic priest, called for revolt against Spain, shouting, “Long live our Lady of Guadalupe! Death to bad government!”
During this ceremony, which is repeated by mayors and governors all over the country, the president rings a bell, calls out the names of Mexico’s heroes, and waves an enormous red, white, and green Mexican flag. And, revelers answer him with hearty cheers of “Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!”
In the small spa town of Ixtapan de la Sal located about two hours southwest of Mexico City, a unique celebration takes place on September 16: a reenactment of a War of Independence battle, complete with costumed Spaniards, Mexican rebels, and indigenous warriors. Ixtapan’s celebrants pelt each other with vegetables – watch out for flying onions, avocados, and sweet potatoes!