The history behind Mexican Independence Day 2021

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 San Diego County, Calif. - On September 15, it marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, which coincides with several Independence Day celebrations for Central American countries including El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and others.

Mexican Independence Day is officially recognized on 16 September, but the celebrations actually begin the night before. Independence Day for Mexico carries with it significant importance for Mexican heritage.

"It was a moment in our heritage where our autonomy and the beauty of our culture were named, where it became part of us," said Dr. Ramona Perez, director of the Center for Latin-American Studies at SDSU.

September 16, 1810, marks the day Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla issued a "grito" or call for an end to Spanish rule for those who gathered in the "zocalo", or central plaza.

"He had a great influence," said Dr. Perez. "And so when he comes and basically tells the community, 'Let's go, let's start declaring that we are an autonomous people. We are a free people,' it meant a lot."

There was a decade of confrontation and war before Mexican independence from Spain finally became a reality in 1821, after 300 years of Spanish control of the region.

"That decade was a time of battle," said Dr. Perez. "There were many, many battles."

The celebrations begin on the eve of 15 September and continue till the next morning.

"You'll have fireworks, you'll have parties," said Dr. Perez. "The neighborhood and you bring people together, and that night the momentum starts to build."

It is a tradition for government officials to give "grito" or call for independence as Father Hidalgo did 200 years ago.

"Leaders go into these public buildings, they climb onto balconies, and they call 'Viva Mexico,'" Dr. Perez said.

He said that El Día de la Independencia is of great importance to Mexican culture on both sides of the border.

"It's an important way for Mexicans in Mexico and the United States to understand themselves as part of a powerful and important country," said Dr. Perez.

She said it is a sacred time when people come together to celebrate the belief that people and communities can run their own destiny, an idea that Father Hidalgo embodied when he stood in the plaza and called for freedom. did.

"One of the ways in which the culture of Mexico, the culture of the family, the culture of the community is really important to us," said Dr. Perez. "So even though we have great, patriotic feelings toward the United States, we belong to the United States. We are part of this country. It's also a cultural honor to recognize where we came from."

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