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Cry of Dolores Grito de Dolores Mexican Holiday September 15

Updated on December 31, 2016

Happy Independence Day Mexico! Sep 15


Mexican Coat of Arms


Cry of Dolores?

Are you familiar with the Mexican holiday Cry of Dolores? Here we are with millions of Mexicans living with us and yet this holiday is little known, unless of course you are Mexican. Each year at eleven on the evening of September 15 the President of Mexico rings the bell of the National Palace in Mexico City. After the ringing of the bell, he repeats a cry based upon the "Grito de Dolores", naming the heroes of the Mexican War of Independence and ending with three shouts of ¡Viva Mexico!

Statue of Father Hildago, Dolores Mexico
Statue of Father Hildago, Dolores Mexico | Source
Hildago | Source

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla

The Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores") also known as El Grito de la Independencia ("Cry of Independence"), was first shouted from the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato on September 16, 1810. This date marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence and is the most important national holiday observed in Mexico, akin to our 4th of July. The "shout" was the cry of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest who declared himself in open revolt against Spanish rule from the pulpit of his church. He encouraged his parishioners to join him and fight against the Spanish Colonial rule. His flock joined him and he had an instant army of some 600 followers. Hidalgo, shouted "Viva Mexico" and "Viva la independencia!" These words have become famous, remembered and shouted each year at the Independence Day celebrations. Hildago’s army eventually swelled to over 80 thousand citizen soldiers. Hidalgo was no saint, he gambled, fornicated, had children out of wedlock and didn't believe in Hell, but he was a leader.

At first, the Criollos (wealthy Mexicans of Spanish descent), fought against the rebellion but in 1820, the approval of the Spanish Constitution, took privileges away from the Criollos, they switched sides so everyone fought together, including the Criollos, Mesizos (children born from the marriage of a Spaniard and an Indian), and Indians. Armed with clubs, knives, slings, and guns, this ragtag army marched on to Mexico City, fighting along the way. The first battle took place in Guanajuato between the Spanish soldiers and Hidalgo's followers. Hildago’s army conquered the town, killing the Spaniards. When they finally reached Mexico City, the revolutionary army delayed the attack and some of them even deserted the army. That same year, Father Hidalgo was captured, tried and executed but the revolution continued. Father Hidalgo's Grito de Delores (Cry of Delores) became the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence. The Mexican revolution was fought for eleven long years but they finally won their freedom in 1821. There were millions of casualties in the revolution. During his trial, Hidalgo recanted his actions, perhaps foreseeing the destruction of lives and property to come.

Act of independence 1821
Act of independence 1821 | Source
Mexican Flag
Mexican Flag

Declaration of Independence

After the death of Father Hidalgo, José María Morelos took the leadership of the revolutionary army Under his leadership the cities of Oaxaca and Acapulco were occupied. In 1813, the Congress of Chilpancingo was convened and on November 6 of that year, the Congress signed the first official document of independence. This document is the Mexican equivalent of our Declaration of Independence, known as the

"Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern America”:

“People of North America, South America and of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

I, Agustín de Iturbide, declare that the Viceroyalty of New Spain ceases to exist. The Empire of Mexico shall take it's place. I, Agustín de Iturbide, declare myself Emperador Agustín I. My first decree will be to establish a Senate from which the people may voice their opinions and pass legislation. But now we must celebrate the Empire day! From this day foreward September 6th shall be considered a national holiday. Empire day. This document shall now and always be known as the Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern America:

  1. "America is free and independent of Spain and all other nations, governments, or monarchies."
  2. The Catholic faith is the sole religion, and no others will be tolerated.
  3. Ministers of religion to survive on tithes and first fruits, with the people owing only devotion and offerings.
  4. Dogma as established by Church hierarchy: Pope, bishops, and priests.
  5. Sovereignty emanates from the people and is placed in a Supreme National Imperial Senate, made up of representatives from the provinces in equal numbers.
  6. Division of powers into appropriate executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
  7. Representatives to serve rotating four year terms.
  8. Adequate remuneration for representatives, not exceeding 8000 pesos.
  9. Jobs to be reserved for Americans only.
  10. No foreigners to be admitted, unless they are artisans capable of sharing their skills and free of all suspicion.
  11. Liberal government to replace tyranny, with the expulsion of the Spaniards.
  12. Laws should promote patriotism and industry, moderate opulence and idleness, and improve the lot and the education of the poor.
  13. Laws should apply to all, with no privileges.
  14. Laws to be drafted and discussed by as many wise men as possible.
  15. An end to slavery and discrimination based on castes.
  16. Homes and property to be inviolable.
  17. Torture shall not be permitted.
  18. 6th of September shall be celebrated as Empire day.
  19. Foreign troops should not enter the country and, if they do so to render assistance, may not approach the seat of government.
  20. No expeditions beyond the nation's borders to be permitted, particularly overseas expeditions; expeditions in the interior to spread the faith are allowed.
  21. An end to the payment of tributes; a tax of 5% or similar light amount to be levied.
  22. 16 September to be consecrated as the anniversary of the Emperor Agustín's coronation, our god sent saviour, and shall be celebrated.

Long live the Empire of Mexico. Long live America. Viva la Mexico. Long live Emperador Agustín I, our god sent saviour and leader. Our commander in chief. King of kings. Equidad en la Justicia.

This created the first Mexican Empire which lasted a grand total of 18 months and followed by a long turbulent history, finally culminating in another revolution in 1910’

Independence Day
Independence Day | Source
mexican folk art Paper mach figures in Guanajuato Market, Mexico. Intricate color patterns and color combinations are characteristic of Mexican folk art, that often dwells in the magical, death, and fantastic.
mexican folk art Paper mach figures in Guanajuato Market, Mexico. Intricate color patterns and color combinations are characteristic of Mexican folk art, that often dwells in the magical, death, and fantastic. | Source

Important celebration in Mexico

Mexican Independence Day is as important a celebration in Mexico as the 4th of July is here and is bigger than Cinco de Mayo or any other political holiday. This is party time in Mexico when crowds of people gather in the town squares of cities, towns, and villages. In the capital, Mexico City is decorated with flags, flowers and lights of red, white, and green as on the Mexican flag. The green, on the left side of the flag symbolizes independence. White, in the middle of the flag symbolizes religion and red on the right side of the flag symbolizes union.

Partiers throw confetti, make noise with whistles, horns and fireworks, and everywhere you see the national colors, red white and green. You can’t throw a party without food and Mexico is no exception from street vendors to private parties, feasting is the order of the day.! When the clock strikes eleven o'clock the crowd gets silent. On the last strike of eleven the president of Mexico steps out on the palace balcony, and rings the historic liberty bell that Father Hidalgo rang to call the people to church. Then the president gives the Grito de Delores. He shouts "Viva Mexico" "Viva la independencia" and the crowd echoes back. People all across Mexico do this at the same time.

The bell from the church at Dolores,

Close up of balcony where the president of Mexico gives the annual Grito de Dolores on Independence day and the bell from the church at Dolores, Guanajuato
Close up of balcony where the president of Mexico gives the annual Grito de Dolores on Independence day and the bell from the church at Dolores, Guanajuato | Source

Colonial Mexico

Spanish Colonial Mexico was part of New Spain (formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain) which was established when the Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire in 1521. At its height, New Spain included much of North America south of Canada: all of present-day Mexico and Central America (except Panama), most of the United States west of the Mississippi River including Texas plus Florida. Spanish rule in New Spain was a caste system with power and wealth going to the people most closely allied to Spain and related to Spanish blood. This led to resentment and when Spain took privileges away from the Criollos, this sealed the fate of Spanish Colonial rule. At the time, Spain was involved in the “The Peninsular War,” the war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. Spain needed money to pay for these wars and they were extracting as much as they could from the colonies, much like Britain was taxing Americans.


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    • profile image

      pancho pistolas 

      5 years ago

      burritos, tacos, tacos, burritos, tamales, tostadas los mexicanos somos unos loquillos (locos para los gringos) xD

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Está aburrido buuuuuuuuuuu

    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      8 years ago from Citra Florida

      Thanx Livelonger

      Yeah, Mexico is a fascinating place but you'd think we would be better educated about our next door neighbor. I knew nothing about Cry of Dolores when I saw it on a calendar so I looked it up

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Fascinating. I'm a big fan of Mexican culture - we were in Mexico City earlier this year for a week and a half and had a terrific time. As huge as El D.F. is, it's only a tiny fraction of a very large country with lots of different cultures. El Grito de Dolores is one holiday I didn't know about, so thanks for the explanation!


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