On the eve of Independence Day, the President of Mexico will ring the bell of the National Palace in Mexico City and shout El Grito de Dolores(The Cry of Dolores). Find out the history of Mexico´s shout heard round the world.
On Friday, September 16 Mexican’s across the country will be celebrating their Independence Day. Many of us here in Playa are foreigners and are perhaps lacking in knowledge of the formation of the modern Mexico. So I want to share with you a significant event that was behind much of what would later follow: El Grito de Dolores.
In English, it translates as the Cry of Dolores, and like the American War of Independence which had it’s “shot heard round the world”, Mexico has its’ own version. It begins in a town called Dolores, from where it gets it’s name. So who was this person who issued the cry? It was Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a respected and unconventional Catholic priest. He was known for his rejection of celibacy and a love of gambling, and his cry was for the end of Spanish rule in Mexico and the redistribution of land.
But this cry would have consequences. Just like when Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar yelled out “Cry Havoc and let loose the dogs of war”, this is exactly what would happen here. Hidalgo’s militia battled its’ way from village to village all the way to Mexico City, leaving a bloodbath in its wake. It was something that Hidalgo would later regret.
The war cry was a call to arms to the mestizo population and those of indigenous descent. Their contribution of manpower was very important to the overall success. His militia kept growing as he moved from village to village en route to Mexico City.
In January 1811, Hidalgo was finally defeated. He fled and was captured, his fate decided by a firing squad in the state of Chihuahua. But the war for independence would carry on for another decade, and in his absence, new leaders took control of the rebellion.
So when you are out celebrating on September 16, why not issue your own version of the Grito de Dolores? Just raise a glass of your favorite drink and yell out loud ¡Viva Mexico! and you will likely find that you are not the only one.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina