Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Viva Mexico! Viva la Revolución!

Probably not Hidalgo's exact words, but definitely what the gente will be joyously shouting for the next few days!

Viva Mexico! Viva la Revolución! Over the next four days Mexico will celebrate the bicentennial of their independence from Spain (the birth of the country) and the centennial anniversary of the revolution (freedom from a thirty year dictatorship and the creation of a new democratic constitution).

Tonight at midnight the Mexican version of the “shot heard around the world” will ring throughout Mexico! In cities and towns throughout the country, a key official will ring a bell and shout the traditional declaration, El Grito de Dolores, and of course, mass revelry will ensue until the wee hours of the morning kicking off the actual holiday: La Independencia de México observed on September 16th.

El Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores) was the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence; proclaimed September 16th, 1810 by the priest of the people, Miguel Hidalgo in the small town of Dolores. Hidalgo ordered the church bells to be rung and gathered his congregation; he addressed the people in front of his church, encouraging them to revolt against the Spanish-- to take back their country, their land and their beloved Virgin de Guadalupe.

This year is especially festive, as both barrels are locked and loaded. One hundred years ago, the Mexican Revolution began on November 20th with troops of campesinos crying out for "¡Tierra y Libertad!" (Land and Freedom!). Dictator Diaz was successfully overthrown and characters like Francisco “Pancho” Villa and Emiliano Zapata were emblazoned in the history books and iconized in taquerías the world over.

The government has been making a big deal of the event: building monuments, marking several routes along highways throughout Mexico that were traveled either during Mexico's War of Independence or the Mexican Revolution, President Calderón will perform the Grito in Mexico City to a crowd of millions, and many more events and fairs for history bufsf and the patriotic. In a show of solidarity and revolutionary fervor, I am going to come tearing into the plaza on my stallion, guns a-blazing!

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