September 16th is Mexican Independence Day (no, it’s not Cinco de Mayo), and believe it or not Mexican and American Independence have quite a few things in common.
Both were seeking to overthrow a colonial government that had conquered the native peoples of that land – the British for the Americans, and the Spanish for the Mexicans.
In addition, both revolutions have a rallying cry “moment” that fanned the flames of freedom. The Mexican equivalent of the Boston Tea Party is “El Grito” – the day Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla called on Mexicans in the town of Dolores to rise up against the Spanish.
Hidalgo was already involved in the revolutionary movement and it was, in fact, José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara (the George Washington of Mexico) who asked Hidalgo to inspire people to revolution. On the 16th of September at 2:30 AM (having freed about 80 pro-independence inmates from jail), Hidalgo rang the church bells and gathered the populous and said (in essence): “Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe [symbol of the Indians’ faith], death to bad government, death to the gachupines [the Spaniards]!”.
Each year the President of the Mexican Republic shouts a version of “El Grito” from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City: “Viva México! Viva la Independencia! Vivan los héroes!” Everybody else celebrates with fireworks, bands and the odd glass of Tequila. We suggest you join them, raise a glass of Tres Agaves Tequila, and cheer, ‘Salud’!