Today is Mexico's Independence Day. (And if you have been reading this blog long enough, you already know that Independence Day is NOT "Cinco de Mayo".)
|(image taken from the internet)
On this day in 1810, Miguel Hidalgo, a parish priest in the town of Dolores, began the struggle for independence from Spain. He was the leader of a group of conspirators who were plotting to break away from Spanish colonial rule. When the conspiracy was discovered by the authorities, Father Hidalgo, in the early hours of the morning, rang the church bell and exhorted his parishioners to rise up against the Spanish. His speech became known as "El Grito de Dolores"... "the Cry of Dolores". Hidalgo was to lose his life before a Spanish firing squad, and the war dragged on for eleven long years. But in 1821 the Spanish viceroy finally signed a treaty recognizing Mexico's independence.
The big celebration actually took place last night. Each year, as many as half a million people crowd into Mexico City's main plaza, the Zócalo. The bell which Father Hidalgo rang now hangs over the balcony of the National Palace. The President appears on the balcony, rings the bell and proclaims the "Grito". In towns and cities across Mexico, mayors and governors ring replicas of Mexico's independence bell.
I have never been in Mexico on Independence Day, but by next year's holiday I will have resided there for nearly a year. I do not, however, plan on attending the celebration on the Zócalo. Standing for hours amidst a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people in not my idea of fun. Nevertheless...