Mexico celebrates 200th year of independence with 'El grito de la Independencia' (Video)
(Scroll down for more photographs.)
Last night hundreds of thousands of Mexicans took to the streets to show their pride in their nation on the 200th anniversary of its independence. Despite the exhaustion of a nation gripped by drug wars, people poured into the streets for the bicentennial celebration.
The government organized a $40 million festival that culminated last night with the annual El Grito de la Indepenencia. What exactly is "El Grito?"
Translated from the Spanish it means roughly "The Cry." It signifies the day Father Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest from Guanajuato, gathered the town by ringing a church bell. He implored the townspeople to fight for independence. His speech marked the beginning of the insurgency, which eventually led to Mexico's independence from Spain after a 10-year war.
To celebrate Hidalgo's battle cry, every year on the anniversary, the president of Mexico carries the nation's flag on the National Palace's balcony overlooking the Zocalo square of Mexico City. He rings the original independence bell four times and shouts the traditional words:
"Mexicanos! Viva los héroes que nos dieron Patria! Viva Hidalgo! Viva Morelos! Viva Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez! Viva Allende! Viva Aldama y Matamoros! Viva la Independencia Nacional! Viva el Bicentenario de Independencia! Viva el Centenario de la Revolución!
The crowd answers him each time with shouts of "Viva!"
Then the cry ends with three shouts of "Viva Mexico!" Long live Mexico!
The speech celebrates the heroes of the war for Mexican independence: Hidalgo, José María Morelos, Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama and Mariano Matamoros. It also calls for long life to the independence of the country.
Mayors and governors perform the grito across the country, though this year the grito was canceled in Ciudad Juarez for the first time in its history because of drug violence.
I'd like to see President Obama do this on the Fourth of July.
Watch El Grito from 2009. It'll leave you shouting "Viva Mexico," too:
| September 16, 2010; 7:57 AM ET
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