Is Mexican Independence the same as Cinco de Mayo?

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Mexico became an independent country on 27 September 1821 – 11 years after Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla made a rallying cry from the town of Dolores, in what is now the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, about 250 miles north of Mexico City. The date was September 15th, 1810; at midnight.

The Catholic priest made his pro-independence speech just after midnight on 16 September 1810, when he rang the bells of the local church. The moment has since become known as the “Grito de Dolores” (in English, Cry of Dolores), marking the start of the 11-year Mexican War of Independence against Spain.

Father Hidalgo inspired many to follow his campaign by evoking Mexico’s patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe, on a banner in the same way she appeared to Juan Diego, an indigenous Mexican who later became a Catholic saint, according to National Geographic.

While the priest and another, José María Morelos, were beheaded by Spanish rulers following their calls for independence, Mexico finally achieved independence in 1821 when an army led by soldier Agustín de Iturbide seized control of Mexico City.

16 September was then made Mexico’s day of independence.

How is Independence Day celebrated in Mexico?

The day is marked by a series of large events such as parades, concerts, and music events in the capital, Mexico City, and in cities and towns across the country.

These festivities begin the day before the holiday, on 15 September, when the president of Mexico stands on the balcony of their official residence, the National Palace, and rings the same bell used by Father Hidalgo in 1810.

According to the British Mexican Society, the president then recites a speech based on “Grito de Dolores” and shouts three times: ¡Viva México! The names of heroes of the Mexican War of Independence are also mentioned in the speech.

It is worth mentioning that in time some names were added to the “Cry of Independence”, but the current president of Mexico, Lopez Obrador has been adding things totally out of context during this Mexican Independence celebration, including Freemasonry phrases such as “Long live the universal fraternity”, or his last addition when he cried “Down with corruption” (when millions of Mexicans condemn Lopez Obrador’s corrupted way of doing things).

A military parade is also held in Mexico City in the early morning hours of September 16th.

Is Mexican Independence the same as Cinco de Mayo?

No, it is not the same. Mexico’s Independence Day is not the same as Cinco de Mayo, although the two spectacles are widely confused for one another, especially by Americans and those outside Mexico, National Geographic says.

Parades in celebration of Mexican Independence Day are held across the country and neighbouring United States (Getty Images)
Parades in celebration of Mexican Independence Day are held across the country and neighboring United States (Getty Images)

Cinco de Mayo, in comparison, celebrates the country’s victory in May 1862 over the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, which occurred as a result of Mexico defaulting on debt payments to European countries after becoming independent from Spain, according to History.com.

What other countries gained independence at the same time?

Mexico is among a number of Central and South American countries marking independence days in September, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua on 15 September, and Mexico on 16 September.

A replica of the ‘independence bell’ at Casa Mariano Abasolo in the city of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato (EPA)
A replica of the ‘independence bell’ at Casa Mariano Abasolo in the city of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato (EPA)

Two days later, Chile celebrates its independence on 18 September and a few weeks later in October, the day Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas is also marked across the continent.

The four-week period between 15 September and 15 October is known and celebrated as Hispanic Heritage Month.

Source: Hispanic Heritage

Mexico Daily Post