Celebrating the Fiestas Patrias in Mexico

Ever taken part in Mexico’s National Holiday celebrations? These festivities are some of the country’s most emblematic and enjoyable celebrations. They commemorate the start of Mexican independence, a military, social and political movement initiated by the famous Cry of Dolores. Want to know more about how this festival is celebrated? By the end of your visit, you’ll also want to shout, “Long live Mexico!”.

What is the national holiday and what are its origins?

In modern day Mexico, the country’s national holiday, also known as Mexican Independence Day, has promoted national identity through celebration. The festival is celebrated on September 15th and 16th, commemorating the heroic feat initiated by the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. Want to know the history?

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  • 1800–1808. Many of the criollos (children of Spaniards born in New Spain) become increasingly discontent with the form of government due, among other reasons, to the fact that they don’t enjoy the same rights as peninsular Spaniards. Added to this, the precarious conditions in which the majority of the indigenous and peasant population live only make matters worse.
  • 1808–1810. Ideals of independence are adopted in the territory of New Spain by the intellectual elite, including Miguel Hidalgo, Juan Aldama, Ignacio Allende and Mariano Abasolo. Secret meetings disguised as literary gatherings are held in places such as the home of the corregidora Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, or in the temple of La Profesa.
  • September 10, 1810. The conspiracy is uncovered.
  • September 16, 1810. In the early hours of the morning, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla summons the people of Dolores using the town’s church bell. With everyone present, he urged them in his historic speech, to rise up in arms against Spanish rule.
  • September 27, 1821. Despite the death of most of the caudillos, Mexico’s independence was finally secured by Agustín de Iturbide. The Provisional Government Committee, formed by Vicente Guerrero, Guadalupe Victoria and Iturbide himself, declared September 16th a national holiday. These are the origins of the country’s most celebrated national holiday.

Mexican Independence Day, a living tradition

The festivities commence September 15th at 11:00 p.m. with the Ceremony of the Grito. We’re sure you’re wondering what the ‘Grito’ is. The bells of the government palace ring out during this event, to commemorate Hidalgo’s call to arms. At the same time, the Mexican flag is flown and the nation’s founding heroes are celebrated with the following cheers:

  • Long live the heroes that gave us our nation and freedom!
  • Long live Hidalgo!
  • Long live Morelos!
  • Long live Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez!
  • Long live Allende!
  • Long live Aldama!
  • Long live national independence!
  • Long live Mexico! Long live Mexico! Long live Mexico!

While the president, governors and municipal presidents shout each name, the public amassed in the city’s esplanades reply with enthusiasm: “Hurrah!” This ceremony is a public demonstration of profound admiration and respect for the nation’s founding heroes.

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The ceremony is followed by a night of Mexican festivities. The participants dress up in traditional clothes, not as a costume, but to show their pride and to celebrate our roots. The most common are:

  • Long skirts.
  • Regional dress and charro costumes.
  • Embroidered blouses (huipiles).
  • Shawls.
  • Traditional loose-fitting shirts (guayabera).

And what would our national holiday celebrations be without the colors green, white and red? Clothes, rattles, trumpets, lights and all kinds of decorations in these colors are used to give life to the celebration. The next day, there’s a spectacular procession.

On Mexican Independence Day it’s not usual to give any specific gift or present. Instead, people tend to bring along a traditional Mexican dish or dessert. Want to know what these are?

The best dishes to celebrate the Mexican National Holiday

Mexican cuisine is an authentic explosion of flavors, textures, colors and spices. For Mexico’s national holiday appetizers such as sopes, picadas, quesadillas and many other delicious dishes are common. The feast starts with small portions to leave room for the mains:

  • Pozole. This stew is made with corn, meat and different toppings (radish, oregano, lettuce, lemon, onion).
  • Chiles en nogada. Poblano chilis (green) stuffed with meat, covered in a walnut sauce (white) and finished with pomegranate seeds (red).
  • Cochinita pibil. Slow-cooked pork meat stewed with achiote.
  • Tostadas. They can be made with chicken, shredded beef or minced meat, as well as cream, beans, cheese, and lettuce, with a green or red sauce.
  • Barbacoa, birria or pancita. Lamb or beef garnished with different chilis.
  • Aguas de Jamaica, horchata or tamarind juice.
  • Tequila and mezcal.
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For those with a sweet tooth, there are delicious fritters with guava syrup, traditional desserts or tricolor jelly.

Experience Mexico’s National Holiday Celebrations

Visit Puerto Vallarta in September and book stylish, safe and convenient accommodation with Del Mar’s houses and condos. On your family vacation make sure to head to the city’s main square for the Ceremony of the Grito and enjoy an unforgettable night of Mexican celebrations. Remember that hotels offer the best options for this celebration and there are even fireworks on the beach. You’re sure to end up dancing with the mariachi band, singing along to Juan Gabriel and feeling the Mexican national holidays in your heart and soul.