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When is Independence Day ?
This public holiday is the national day of Mexico and is celebrated on 16 September.
Also known as 'Día de la Independencia' or 'Grito de Dolores', it marks the anniversary of the Mexican War of Independence against Spain on 16 September 1810.
Specifically, it commemorates a proclamation by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla on 16 September 1810, in the village of Dolores, near Guanajuato.
Hidalgo's proclamation called for an end to Spanish rule in Mexico, encouraging rebellion and insurrection against the Spanish.
The Spanish Empire, had been broken by Napoleon's invasion of Spain, and imperial rule had been replaced by "juntas" in both Spain and the American colonies, while King Fernando VII was being held hostage by Napoleon.
The Proclamation of Dolores
Hidalgo ordered that the church bell be rung to gather his congregation, then called for insurrection and ended by calling out, Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! Viva Fernando VII! Abajo el mal gobierno! [Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe! Long live Fernando VII! Down with the bad government!].
There are various accounts of what Hidalgo was reputed to have actually said. While the proclamation has gained national status, in reality, it is unlikely that that Hidalgo disowned the King as he is supposedly said to have done.
Following his speech, Father Hidalgo raised an army and attempted to overthrow the Junta government, but he was eventually defeated. As his struggle against the establishment continued, he began to demand the full independence of all the Spanish American colonies, and the exile or arrest of all Spaniards within Mexico.
It was only after a ten year long War of Independence that Mexico's independence was finally acknowledged by the Spanish viceroy on 27 September 1821 .
Since the 1870's, re-enacting the proclamation has become a tradition. Every year, The Mexican President rings Hidalgo's bell (now kept at the National Palace in Mexico City) and repeats Hidalgo's words at 11:00pm on 15 September. On 16 September, a military parade takes place in Mexico City.
In 1825, the Republic of Mexico officially declared 16 September its national Independence Day.
Note: Cinco de Mayo is often confused as being Mexican Independence Day when in fact Cinco de Mayo commemorates a Battle with France in 1862.