Independence Day fireworks © Randal Sheppard
Mexicans celebrate the anniversary of their independence from Spain with great gusto, particularly in Mexico City where the Zocalo (main plaza) fills with throngs of people from early morning the day before the event, as spectators await the appearance of the president on the balcony of the National Palace. The president duly appears to shout 'the Cry', a re-enactment of the 1810 call to independence by Father Hidalgo. The original Cry or Grito was pronounced in the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato, and marked the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence. Mexico only became officially independent after more than a decade of war, in 1821. The emotional crowd replies with 'Viva!' to the president's re-enactment and the city erupts with excitement, abuzz with street parties and fireworks.
Most towns, villages and cities have similar gatherings in their central squares, with lots of festive paraphernalia like confetti and whistles in the Mexican colours of green, white and red. The following day a three-hour military parade begins at the Zocalo in Mexico City and ends at the Angel monument on the Paseo de la Reforma. Independence Day is one of Mexico's biggest celebrations, if not the biggest, and it is a wonderful time to be in the country!
Venue: Zocalo and city streets
Date: 15 - 16 September annually