Mexicans shout the phrase “¡Viva México!” on Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16th each year. This patriotic cry translates to “Long live Mexico!” and expresses joy and pride in the country.
When did Mexico gain independence?
Mexico gained independence from Spain on September 16, 1810 after an 11-year war led by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and continued by other freedom fighters. This Independence Day marks the anniversary of the beginning of the independence movement and Mexico’s liberation from colonial rule.
Why do Mexicans shout “¡Viva México!”?
The cry of “¡Viva México!” is an expression of patriotic enthusiasm and national pride. Shouting it on Independence Day honors the heroes of the independence struggle and celebrates Mexico’s cultural heritage and sovereignty as an independent nation.
Some key reasons Mexicans shout this phrase on their Independence Day:
- To express joy and excitement about their homeland
- To honor the sacrifice of the independence fighters
- To celebrate Mexico’s freedom and self-determination
- To highlight national unity and pride in Mexican identity
- To commemorate an important milestone in Mexican history
How is “¡Viva México!” used during Independence Day celebrations?
The chant of “¡Viva México!” features prominently during the Independence Day celebrations across the country. Some ways it is incorporated:
- Shouted by paraders and spectators during military marches and parades
- Exclaimed during patriotic speeches by government officials
- Sung within traditional folk songs commemorating independence
- Included in cries of support during reenactments of key battles
- Yelled excitedly by crowds gathered for fireworks displays
- Printed on banners, flags and t-shirts during street festivals and fairs
Wherever Independence Day gatherings occur, this powerful phrase rings out to convey the enduring Mexican spirit.
What are some other common Independence Day traditions?
In addition to shouting “¡Viva México!”, some other popular Mexican Independence Day traditions include:
- The Grito de Dolores – The president reenacts the “Cry of Dolores” from 1810 that sparked the revolution, ringing a bell from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City.
- Chiles en nogada – Eating this iconic dish of stuffed poblano peppers covered in a creamy walnut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.
- Mariachi music and folk dancing – Lively musical performances and folkloric dancing are central to nearly all celebrations.
- Fireworks – Cities and towns across Mexico light up the night sky with elaborate fireworks displays.
- Parades and reenactments – Military parades commemorating the independence heroes are held, often with actors recreating historic scenes.
These time-honored traditions help Mexicans of all backgrounds come together to honor their national history and culture on Independence Day.
When does the Independence Day celebration start and end?
While Independence Day itself is September 16th, celebrations typically last the entire month of September. Here is an overview:
- September 1st – The president gives the official “Grito de Independencia” to kick off festivities.
- September 16th – Independence Day, with the biggest celebrations and parades.
- September 15th & 16th – Many towns have feasts, fairs and parties on the nights before and after September 16th.
- Entire month of September – Events are held across Mexico’s cities all month long.
So although the height of the celebrations is September 15th and 16th, Mexicans dedicate the whole month to commemorating their independence from colonial rule.
Where are the biggest Independence Day celebrations held?
Some of the cities and towns famous for their elaborate and enthusiastic Independence Day festivities include:
- Mexico City – As the capital, it hosts massive parades and the president performs the “Grito” here.
- Dolores Hidalgo – Where the revolution originated, they reenact the original “Grito de Dolores.”
- Puebla – Their parade features colorful costumes, floats and gigantic flying balloons.
- Oaxaca – Known for its indigenous culture, they have vibrant parades, dances and art.
- San Miguel de Allende – This charming colonial town explodes with fireworks and jubilant celebration.
From small villages to major metropolises, the holiday spirit is palpable all across Mexico as Independence Day is commemorated.
What are common decorations and symbols for the holiday?
Mexicans decorate homes, streets and public spaces with nationalistic embellishments to mark Independence Day. Look for:
- The Mexican flag and tricolor ribbons in green, white and red
- Depictions of the Founding Fathers like Miguel Hidalgo
- Banners with patriotic phrases and incantations of “¡Viva México!”
- Fresh marigolds, which are Mexico’s national flower
- Papel picado, colorful paper banners in elaborate designs
- The eagle from the Mexican coat of arms
- Images related to traditional food, dress and folk art
These decorative elements showcase Mexican culture and heritage while creating a festive atmosphere.
How did “¡Viva México!” originate?
The roots of this iconic Independence Day rallying cry extend back to the revolution itself:
- 1810 – Priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gathered an army and launched the revolt with the “Grito de Dolores” speech, which included cries of “Long live independence!” and “Long live America!”
- 1821 – As the military leader Agustín de Iturbide marched into Mexico City ending the war, the people cried out “¡Viva Iturbide!” in support.
- 1823 – After Iturbide was overthrown, the phrase evolved into the now familiar “¡Viva México!” to express loyalty to the country rather than a specific leader.
- Since then, it has been cemented as a unifying exclamation of national pride and freedom.
While Mexico’s history is complex, “¡Viva México!” remains a simple and powerful reminder of the country’s hard-won independence.
How are children involved in Independence Day celebrations?
Children take an active role in Independence Day festivities across Mexico. Some ways they participate include:
- Making arts and crafts in school like flags, paper flowers and decorative ornaments to adorn their homes and communities
- Learning about Mexican history, culture and the meaning of patriotic symbols
- Performing in school plays and reenactments depicting the struggle for independence
- Marching in parades dressed in historic costumes or traditional outfits representing Mexico’s diversity
- Singing folk songs and waving the national flag enthusiastically during public celebrations
- Shouting “¡Viva México!” right alongside parents, neighbors and friends
Including children ensures that cherished Independence Day traditions are passed on to future generations.
What traditional Mexican dishes are served on Independence Day?
Families celebrate with feasts featuring classic Patriotic Mexican cuisine on Independence Day. Favorites include:
- Pozole – A hearty soup made with hominy, chili peppers, and meat
- Chiles en nogada – Stuffed poblano peppers with a walnut cream sauce. The green, white and red colors represent the Mexican flag.
- Tacos – Especially tacos al pastor of thinly sliced pork
- Tamales – Savory corn masa parcels filled with meats, cheese, or vegetables, wrapped and steamed in corn husks or banana leaves
- Arroz con leche – Sweet rice pudding flavored with cinnamon
- Churros – Fried dough pastries coated in sugar to dip in warm chocolate sauce
These iconic dishes and many others provide delicious fuel for a day full of festivities.
What is a common Independence Day tradition in schools?
A popular activity in Mexican schools leading up to Independence Day is the grito contest. Students compete to deliver the best reenactment of the “Grito de Dolores” cry. This tradition allow students to:
- Study Mexico’s history and the events leading to independence
- Learn about key figures like Father Hidalgo who launched the uprising
- Practice public speaking skills
- Experience the enthusiasm of the moment when the revolt began
- Get excited for the upcoming celebrations of Independence Day
The grito contest brings history to life while connecting students to this important national holiday.
How has Independence Day evolved over time?
While the enthusiastic cries of “¡Viva México!” endure, the Independence Day holiday has evolved in some ways:
- The first celebration was held in 1812 in San Miguel el Grande, today known as San Miguel de Allende.
- In the years following independence, it was marked with religious observances and special masses.
- Later in the 1800s, events like parades, concerts, dances and poetry readings were added.
- When President Porfirio Diaz took office in the late 1800s, lavish events were organized to cultivate nationalism.
- The Mexican Revolution in the early 1900s enhanced patriotic sentiment around Independence Day festivities.
- Today it is largely a secular civic celebration and remains a national priority.
While always important, the celebrations continue to shift over time as Mexican identity evolves.
The joyous shout of “¡Viva México!” on Independence Day encapsulates the pride, history and spirit of the Mexican people. This iconic phrase has its origins in the revolution but has taken on new meaning over centuries of commemoration. The jubilant celebrations featuring food, decorations, parades and more are deeply woven into Mexico’s cultural fabric. For Mexicans around the world, ¡Viva México! represents an emotional connection and a reminder of their shared roots and bright future on each September 16th.