Mexican Independence Day Special:
Foreign rule results in insurgency.
⁓The Voice before the Void
“Grito de Dolores”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo.
The Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”), also known as El Grito de la Independencia (“Cry of Independence”), was uttered from the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato on September 16, 1810. The “Grito” was the pronunciamiento of the Mexican War of Independence by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest. Since 1825, the anniversary of the event is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day.
Hidalgo and several criollos were involved in a planned revolt against the Spanish colonial government, when several plotters were betrayed. Fearing his arrest, Hidalgo commanded his brother Mauricio, as well as Ignacio Allende and Mariano Abasolo to go with a number of other armed men to make the sheriff release the pro-independence inmates. They managed to free eighty prisoners. Around 6:00 am on September 16, 1810, Hidalgo ordered the church bells to be rung and gathered his congregation. Flanked by Allende and Juan Aldama, he addressed the people in front of his church, encouraging them to revolt.
The Siege of Guanajuato, the first major engagement of the insurgency, occurred four days later. Mexico’s independence would not be effectively declared from Spain in the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire until September 28, 1821, after over a decade of war.
The event has since assumed an almost mythic status. Since the late 20th century, Hidalgo’s “cry of independence” has become emblematic of Mexican independence.
Wording of the Grito
There is no scholarly consensus as to what exactly Hidalgo said at the time. Michael Meyer in The Course of Mexican History states:
The exact words of this most famous of all Mexican speeches are not known, or, rather, they are reproduced in almost as many variations as there are historians to reproduce them.
Meyer goes on to claim that
the essential spirit of the message is… ‘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!’
By contrast, William F. Cloud divides the sentiments above between both Hidalgo and the crowd:
[Hidalgo] told them that the time for action on their part had now come. When he asked, ‘Will you be slaves of Napoleon or will you as patriots defend your religion, your hearths and your rights?’ there was a unanimous cry, ‘We will defend to the utmost! Long live religion, long live our most holy mother of Guadalupe! Long live America! Death to bad government, and death to the Gachupines!’
Hidalgo’s Grito did not condemn the notion of monarchy or criticize the current social order in detail, but his opposition to the events in Spain and the current viceregal government was clearly expressed in his reference to bad government. The Grito also emphasized loyalty to the Catholic religion, a sentiment with which both Creoles and Peninsulares (native Spaniards) could sympathize; however, the strong anti-Spanish cry of “Death to the Gachupines” (Gachupines was a nickname given to Peninsulares) probably had caused horror among Mexico’s elite.
September 16 is Independence Day in Mexico and is considered a patriotic holiday, or fiesta patria. The day is marked by parades, patriotic programs, drum and bugle and marching band competitions, school celebrations, and concerts.
Each year on the night of September 15 at around eleven in the evening, the President of Mexico rings the bell of the National Palace in Mexico City. After the ringing of the bell, he recites a cry of patriotism (a Grito Mexicano) which includes the names of important heroes of the Mexican War of Independence and ends with the threefold shout of ¡Viva México! from the balcony of the palace to the assembled crowd in the Plaza de la Constitución, or Zócalo, one of the largest public plazas in the world. After the shouting, he rings the bell again and waves the Flag of Mexico to the applause of the crowd. This is followed by the mass singing of the Himno Nacional Mexicano, the national anthem, accompanied by a military band from the Mexican Armed Forces. The event draws up to half a million spectators from all over Mexico and tourists from all over the world. On the morning of September 16, a military parade in honor of Independence Day starts in the Zócalo and its outskirts, passes the Hidalgo Memorial and ends on the Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s main boulevard, passing the El Ángel memorial column and other sites along the way.
A similar celebration occurs in cities and towns all over Mexico, and in Mexican embassies and consulates worldwide on the 15th or the 16th.
The Cry of Dolores today
This is a translation of the version often said by the President of Mexico in the national commemorative ceremony:
Long live the heroes that gave us the Fatherland!
Long live Hidalgo!
Long live Morelos!
Long live Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez!
Long live Allende!
Long live Galena and the Bravos!
Long live Aldama and Matamoros!
Long live National Independence!
Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico!