September 16 is Mexican Independence Day. All this past week every city, town and village I’ve traveled through — from Mexico City to Tenancingo de Degollado to Morelia, Patzcuaro and Tzintzuntzan — is preparing for the celebration.
Right now, in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, the zocalo is filled with families waiting for the mayor to speechify. On September 15, a tall castle built of bamboo appeared. At ten o’clock at night the wheels at the top of the castle will spin and propel firecrackers and a pyrotechnics display skyward announcing the independence once again.
Flags, bunting, parades, musicians and red, green and white jello cups dominate the landscape. Across the land, mayors, governors and the President will shout out La Grita — the call for freedom from Spain that Hidalgo yelled in 1821. Children will wear the colors of their country. There is even a Liberty Bell. This is a photo tribute to Mexico and her Independence.
The feast of the season is the red, white and green taste treat called Chiles en Nogada, created by the nuns in Puebla for General Iturbide who became Emperor of Mexico after independence from Spain.
I’m not sure that Mexico can be topped by any other country for her widespread use of red, white and green. From confections to cake decorations to adornment on buildings, the color of the flag dominates everything this week.
Mexico is a country of do-it-yourselfers. The Parisina fabric store (it seems like there is one in each medium to large size town) is filled with enough notions, textiles and glitter to outfit each man, woman and child in the country’s colors.
And, if you need a flag, look no further than your neighborhood street corner, where you can get one in any size. Add a feathery hair adornment, a horn, a drum, and a whistle and you’ll be ready to join any band in town.
At the Feria del Rebozo in Tenancingo de Degollado, State of Mexico, I saw many finely woven shawls that were in the colors red, white and green. They were hung like flags on display and I know that many women coveted them.
Even at Casa Azul, home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, an exhibit of her clothing featured a skirt in patriotic colors. I’m writing this on the night of September 15. The firecrackers just went off. I heard the mayor call La Grita. Time to go to sleep, if I can sleep. Who knows how for how long the firecrackers will crackle and sizzle and burst with sound. Sending wishes for peace and freedom for all.
On September 16, we’ll go to the zocalo for the parade. Every Independence Day needs a parade, yes?
September 16: Viva Mexico, Independence Day from Spain
In villages and towns large and small, Independence Day is a big deal in Mexico. On September 16, 1810, the Grito, or Cry of Dolores was shouted by Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo in the Guanajuato town of Dolores (later renamed Dolores Hidalgo). On September 27, the revolutionaries, led by Augustin de Iturbide, marked into Mexico City to overtake the Spanish garrison. The rest is history.
Mexican Flag, La Bandera de Mexico, Zocalo, Mexico City
Even in the days preceding the celebration, even in the rain, I could hear the drum beat of the Banda de la Guerra (the military marching band) practicing in the middle school courtyard. This is a celebration where children are front and center.
Flags for sale from the back of a motorcycle, a size for everyone.
Most homes have flags flying. The moto-taxis are adorned in banners and flags featuring the red, white and green bandera (flag).
Red, white and green as a food display.
On the late afternoon of September 15, my Zapotec family celebrated family matriarch Dolores’ birthday, named so because she was born on this special day. The Cry of Dolores is an important part of political and social acculturation, just like singing the Star Spangled Banner.
My chakira (beaded) flag blouse, stained with guajillo chile sauce at supper, soaking
Here in Teotitlan del Valle, the celebration begins on September 15. After the marching band leads the parade of young costumed girls through the streets, the townspeople gather in the municipal square. The late afternoon brings the threat of rain, but none comes.
A drum for every child? Why not!
At 11:00 p.m. everyone shouts the Cry for Independence together and the event is followed with firecrackers and rockets. The dogs bark and donkeys bray.
Chiles en Nogada at Oaxaca’s Los Danzantes. Traditional for Independence Day.
I put in my earplugs to get a good night’s sleep because I have a long travel day on September 17, starting at 3:30 a.m. and I want to walk the dogs in the campo where it is quiet and meditative.
There is more celebration today. Viva Mexico!
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Teotitlan del Valle
Tagged flag, Independence Day, Mexico, red white green flag