When I think of the pride we people of Mexican culture have for Mexico, I just fill up with joy! My people are proud of where we come from and what our families have been through to live the American dream in the United States. We celebrate any battle we’ve overcome with joy and pride, and the same goes for the battles our motherland has been victorious in. Mexican Independence Day isn’t just another excuse to celebrate; it means so much more to so many people.
It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood why my parents and grandparents took us to fiestas patrias, local town events, to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. All I really knew was that it meant something to the people of Mexico. I remember the loud music, games, and delicious food, but most of all, I remember the pride people displayed for their love of Mexico, from what they wore to how they shouted “Viva Mexico!” to how they carried their native flag. I knew I wanted my kids to feel the exact same pride, and I made sure to learn and celebrate Mexican Independence Day with my family so that I could.
Being far from the west coast, where celebrations for Mexican Independence Day are huge, leaves me to create fun things for my family to do. It’s not hard to make your own celebration, but it’s important to know the reasons behind the celebrations.
While most of the history and facts on Mexican Independence Day are sad, they are the truth. I teach my kids to be proud regardless. I share who were important people then, and why our people still celebrate today!
Here are 12 must-know facts about Mexican Independence Day!
Mexican Independence Day Facts 1 of 13
Scroll through the images for 12 important facts about Mexican Independence Day.
Why were the people in Mexico rebelling? 2 of 13
I never really understood what Mexico was fighting for until my father told me the Spaniards had taken over Mexico years before.
What happened to those who united? 3 of 13
People united to take over Mexico from the Spaniards. Unfortunately, many were killed for rebelling. More on the Conspiracies that lead to the battle against the Spaniards.
What made Father Hidalgo take action? 4 of 13
Religion had a huge role in the fight for freedom. A very famous and important leader in the history of Mexico's independence was Father Hidalgo. He took action as soon as he heard the Spaniards would come for him next.
What role did Father Hidalgo play in Mexico’s Independence? 5 of 13
Father Hidalgo is best known for his speech on September 15th.
More on El Grito de Dolores
What is El Grito de Dolores? 6 of 13
The Cry of Dolores is still recited today at any Mexican celebration I've been to. Father Hidalgo preached "Viva Mexico!" to his followers.
What was Father Hidalgo’s army made up of? 7 of 13
Father Hidalgo's followers were regular people, and his army didn't look like it would survive the battle against the Spaniards. They united and believed in what Father had preached.
More on Father Hidalgo's followers
Why is October 2nd significant? 8 of 13
Father Hidalgo and the other leaders of his group had initially set out to rebel on October 2nd, but his plans were changed once he got the news on September 15th that the Spaniards were coming for him.
More on who was to start the battle with Father Hidalgo on October 2nd.
What happened in 1811? 9 of 13
Father Hidalgo suffered a horrible death. He was used as an example of what happened to traitors against Spain, and his body was put on display in front of his church in 1811. The battle for Mexico's freedom still wasn't over.
More on Father Hidalgo
Why was 1821 a significant year? 10 of 13
Father Hidalgo's successors fought for victory — one of which was his captain in battle, who went on to fight two more significant battles.
More on how the battle against Spain was victorious.
How many years did it take to defeat Spain? 11 of 13
It took 11 years from the time Father Hidalgo gave "The Cry for Dolores" speech to his people until the country became free. Mexico finally gained independence in 1821.
More on Mexico's Independence
1823 marks Mexico’s first what? 12 of 13
Even though Mexico was free, things in the country were not all well and happy. Mexico battled within itself to find what would eventually work for their new government. The first Mexican presidential election was held in 1823 — two years after victory.
When do the celebrations for Mexican Independence Day begin? 13 of 13
Celebrations start on the eve of when the battle for freedom began. People in Mexico still gather at the National Palace to hear their president chant "El Grito de Dolores" to his proud Mexican citizens. Much is the same in some states in America today, especially on the west coast.
Will you be celebrating Mexican Independence Day?
Read more of Ruby’s writing at Growing Up Blackxican