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The Significance and History of Mexican Independence Day: A Celebration of Freedom from Spain
The Significance and History of Mexican Independence Day
written by Rodrigo Diniz

on September 14, 2023

Are you wondering why Mexico celebrates Independence Day on September 16th, not Cinco de Mayo? You aren't alone - it's a common misconception. This often-confused holiday marks the start of Mexico's fight for independence from Spain in 1810.

In this blog, we'll dive into the rich history and significance of Mexican Independence Day, shedding light on its origins and traditions. Unraveling these details promises to be an enlightening journey – come along!

  Key Takeaways

  • Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th to commemorate Mexico's freedom from Spanish rule in 1821.
  • The holiday originated with Father Miguel Hidalgo's speech, known as El Grito de Dolores, which called for the Mexican people to rise up against Spanish oppression.
  • Mexican Independence Day is marked by traditions such as reenacting the Cry of Dolores, enjoying traditional Mexican cuisine, and flying the colors of the Mexican flag.

What is Mexican Independence Day?

Mexican Independence Day is a big holiday in Mexico. It happens every year on September 16th. This day celebrates the time when Mexico said it wanted to be free from Spain in 1810.

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a brave priest, started this freedom call. He rang his church's bell and made a strong talk called the Grito de Dolores. In this talk, he asked for an end to Spanish rule.

The fight for freedom was long and hard. The Mexican War of Independence went on for more than ten years but ended with success! On August 24, 1821, Spain agreed that Mexico was its own country.

Now, people all over Mexico mark this day with fun things like colorful parades and music shows by mariachi bands. They also listen to talks full of patriotism about their homeland.

The History and Significance of Mexican Independence Day

Mexican Independence Day has a rich history and holds great significance as it marks the nation's freedom from Spanish rule.

The History and Significance of Mexican Independence Day
El Grito de Dolores, delivered on September 16, 1810, was a powerful speech delivered by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and is considered the starting point of the Mexican War of Independence.

New Spain

New Spain was a big part of the past. It was a Spanish colony from 1521 to 1821. This area was not just Mexico. It had parts of Central America and parts of the United States too. The same time New Spain existed, Mexico was fighting for freedom in the Mexican War of Independence.

Spain ruled New Spain until something big happened in 1810. In that year, Mexico said they wanted to be free from Spain. This marked the start of the end for New Spain.

El Grito de Dolores

Father Hidalgo made a big speech on September 16, 1810. He called it "El Grito de Dolores". He wanted to end Spanish rule in Mexico. His words asked all Mexicans to fight for their freedom.

This speech was the start of the Mexican War of Independence. It is a key part of Mexico's history.

The Mexican Uprising

Father Miguel Hidalgo sparked the Mexican Uprising in 1810. He made a strong call, known as Grito de Dolores, that asked everyone to fight against Spanish rule. This marked the start of Mexico's War of Independence.

The battle went on for over ten years, ending in 1821. Spain then saw Mexico as an independent country. Every year on September 16th, Mexicans honor this historic event by having a big celebration for Mexican Independence Day.

The Fate of Father Hidalgo

Father Hidalgo, also known as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, played a crucial role in Mexican history. After delivering the Grito de Dolores speech calling for an end to Spanish rule, Father Hidalgo became a symbol of independence.

However, his fate took a tragic turn when he was captured and executed by Spanish forces. Despite this, Father Hidalgo's legacy lives on as the "Father of Mexican Independence." Today, during the celebration of Mexican Independence Day, the President of Mexico rings Father Hidalgo's bell and recites his famous speech in front of thousands of people.

It is a poignant reminder of his sacrifice and determination for freedom from Spanish oppression.


Mexican Independence Day is a special holiday that marks Mexico's freedom from Spanish rule. It all started in 1810, when Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest, made a powerful speech known as El Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores).

He rallied the Mexican people to rise up against their Spanish oppressors and fight for their independence. This led to a decade-long war called the Mexican War of Independence. Finally, on August 24, 1821, Spain recognized Mexico as an independent country.

Since then, September 16 has been celebrated as Mexican Independence Day with parades, music concerts, fireworks displays, and delicious Mexican food.

Traditions of Mexican Independence Day

During Mexican Independence Day, traditions include reenacting the Cry of Dolores, enjoying delicious Mexican cuisine, and flying the vibrant colors of the Mexican flag.

The Cry of Dolores reenactment

The Cry of Dolores reenactment is an important tradition associated with Mexican Independence Day. It takes place on September 15th at 11:00 p.m. The president of Mexico performs El Grito de Dolores from the National Palace balcony during the reenactment.

This historical event commemorates the famous cry for independence made by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, known as "Father Hidalgo," on September 16, 1810. Following the reenactment, there are patriotic speeches and lively celebrations throughout Mexico.

Homes and public buildings are beautifully decorated in red, white, and green - the colors of the Mexican flag - to honor this significant day in Mexican history.

Mexican cuisine

Mexican cuisine plays a big role in the celebrations of Mexican Independence Day. Traditional dishes like Chiles en Nogada are prepared to mark this special occasion. During the festivities, Mexican homes and public buildings are decorated in the colors of the Mexican flag, which shows how important food is in these cultural celebrations.

Families come together for feasts, emphasizing the significance of food and cuisine during this time. The culinary traditions associated with Mexican Independence Day showcase the rich and diverse flavors of Mexican cuisine.

So, it's not just about celebrating independence but also savoring delicious meals that represent Mexico's unique culinary heritage.

Traditions of Mexican Independence Day
The Cry of Dolores reenactment is associated with the traditions of Mexican Independence Day when homes and public buildings are decorated in the colors of the Mexican flag for the celebration.

Flying the Mexican flag

During Mexican Independence Day celebrations, one of the traditions is flying the Mexican flag. This is a way to show pride and honor for their country's history and independence. Homes, buildings, and even cars are adorned with the colors of the Mexican flag - green, white, and red - during this special time.

It is a visual representation of unity and patriotism as people come together to celebrate their freedom from Spanish rule. Flying the Mexican flag serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for independence and continues to be an important symbol for Mexicans around the world.

People take great care in displaying their flags properly during this time, making sure they are raised high on poles or hung proudly from balconies. The flag represents not only Mexico's past but also its present and future as a strong nation.

Difference between Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo

Despite both being significant celebrations in Mexican culture, Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo hold different meanings and commemorations. Here are some noteworthy distinctions between the two:

1. Mexican Independence Day, celebrated on September 16th, honors the beginning of Mexico's fight for freedom from Spain. Cinco de Mayo, on the other hand, is observed on May 5th and celebrates the Mexican army's unexpected victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla.

2. The Mexican Independence Day marks the moment when Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rallied the Mexican people with "El Grito de Dolores" to rise against Spanish rule. This is not the case with Cinco de Mayo, which does not involve a fight for independence.

3. In terms of importance, Mexican Independence Day takes the lead. It is considered the most important national holiday in Mexico, while Cinco de Mayo is more of a regional celebration, primarily observed in the state of Puebla.

4. The observance of the holidays also differs. On Mexican Independence Day, schools and businesses across the country close down in honor of the holiday, leading to nationwide celebrations. Cinco de Mayo, however, does not command the same level of observance.

5. Interestingly, while Cinco de Mayo has gained significant popularity in the United States, Mexican Independence Day is less known and less celebrated among the U.S. populace. This is likely due to the promotion of Cinco de Mayo by beer and liquor companies in the U.S. over the years.

Celebrations around the World

Mexican Independence Day is not only celebrated in Mexico but also around the world. Here are some examples of how people celebrate this special day in different countries:.

- In the United States, Mexican communities organize parades, concerts, and festivals to honor Mexican culture and heritage. Many cities have street fairs with traditional music and dancing.

- In Canada, there are Mexican Independence Day celebrations held in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver. These events feature live performances by Mexican artists, folk dances, and delicious Mexican cuisine.

- In Spain, where Mexico gained independence from, people commemorate this historic event by organizing exhibitions, cultural activities, and concerts that showcase the connection between the two countries.

- In Germany, particularly in Munich's Oktoberfest celebration which falls around the same time as Mexican Independence Day (September 16th), you can find special areas dedicated to Mexican traditions such as mariachi bands performing lively music.

Difference between Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo
The Mexican Independence Day celebrated on September 16th refers to Mexico's independence from Spain, while Cinco de Mayo celebrated on May 5th commemorates the Battle of Puebla.

These global celebrations highlight the significance of Mexican history and culture while bringing people together to enjoy food, music, dance, and unity.

Interesting Facts about Mexican Independence Day

Mexican Independence Day is a decade-long revolution that led to freedom from Spanish rule and established Mexico as an independent nation on August 24, 1821.

A decade-long revolution

The Mexican War of Independence was not a quick fight, but instead lasted for over ten years. It started on September 16, 1810, and didn't end until August 24, 1821. That means the people of Mexico fought for their independence from Spain for more than a decade! Finally, in 1821, Spain officially recognized Mexico as its own independent country.

This revolution began when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang a church bell and delivered an inspiring speech called the Grito de Dolores. It marked the start of a long and difficult struggle for freedom that eventually led to Mexico's independence.

Not as popular as Cinco de Mayo in the U.S.

Mexican Independence Day, celebrated on September 16th, is an important holiday in Mexico that marks their freedom from Spanish rule. However, it may not be as well-known or popular in the United States compared to Cinco de Mayo.

While both holidays celebrate Mexican culture and history, Cinco de Mayo has gained more recognition in the U.S., especially for its festivities and parties. Nonetheless, Mexican Independence Day holds great significance for Mexicans around the world as they commemorate their country's struggle for independence and honor those who fought for freedom.


Mexican Independence Day is a significant celebration that marks Mexico's freedom from Spanish rule. It honors the brave priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, and his call for independence.

This historic event is celebrated with parades, music, traditional food, and patriotic speeches. Mexican Independence Day reminds us of the importance of freedom and the courage it takes to fight for it.

Let's join in celebrating this remarkable day!


1. What is Mexican Independence Day and why do people celebrate it?

Mexican Independence Day is a day that celebrates the War of Independence from Spain. It marks when Mexico became free from Spanish rule.

2. How did Mexican Independence happen?

The village of Dolores gave birth to the War of Independence with "El Grito de Dolores". In this event, villagers rose against the Spanish commander which led to victory years later with The Treaty of Cordoba.

3. Where was the first call for independence made in Mexico?

The call for freedom began in the town of Dolores, now known as Dolores Hidalgo. This place marked where indigenous people stood up against Spanish colonizers who treated them as second-class citizens.

4. Who were significant figures during Mexican independence?

Benito Juarez stands out as an important figure during this period: he served as president after independence and helped reshape Mexico's capital city and economy despite challenges faced by war-torn Mexico.

5. How do Mexicans celebrate their national holiday?

Celebrations take place all over - streets filled with red, white, and green; home-cooked feasts enjoy traditional food like Queso Fundido or Menudo while mariachi concerts play live music; reenactments are often broadcasted on TV or radio stations nationwide too!

6. Did US states like Arizona or Utah once belong to Mexico?

Yes! California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, most of Arizona and Colorado, and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming were part of old Mexican territory before America's occupation following its own battle for freedom.