Many people think that Cinco de Mayo on the fifth of May is Mexican Independence Day, in actual fact Mexico celebrates its independence from Spanish rule on September 16. This is one of the most important days of the year in Mexico. In the weeks leading up to September 16, vendors make their way through Mexico’s cities and towns selling flags, horns, face paint, hats, noisemakers, pinwheels and many other items for the celebration, all in Mexico’s colours; red, green and white. Government buildings in the main plaza are cheerfully decorated in eagerness of the big fiesta.
On September 15 at exactly 11:00 p.m., the whole country re-enacts El Grito or the call to fight for liberty of Miguel Hidalgo, the priest that lead the independence movement in 1810. The largest celebration in the entire country is held at El Zócalo (the central city square) in Mexico City, where over 150,000 people congregate to celebrate the independence of their querido (beloved) México by shouting “Viva México!” in unison, conversely every city and towns across the country hold their own celebrations, including Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
As is the Mexican way, celebrations, music, dancing, food and drink are very important on the 15th and 16th of September. Dancers in colourful costumes perform to the cheerful sounds of Mariachis. Mexican dishes like pozole (a stew made with pork and hominy) and chiles en nogada (stuff peppers with a walnut cream sauce) are served. For dessert, obleas (“dulce de leche” spread between two very thin wafers) or churros (deep fried dough) may be prepared. Of course, tequila and mescal always flow freely.
The celebrations span the entire month of September, El Mes de La Patria, or Patriot Month. September is an ideal time to visit Cancun, Playa del Carmen or the Riviera Maya and join the Mexican Independence Day fiesta.