Each year, Mexicans celebrate their independence from Spanish rule on the anniversary of Grito de Dolores, which begins on September 15 and ends the next day. This holiday is a bigger celebration than Cinco de Mayo and is celebrated with plenty of parties and festive decorations.
Celebrating Mexico's Independence
Similar to the United State's Fourth of July, Mexico's Independence Day is celebrated with food, parties and fireworks. This holiday is the largest in Mexico and is observed by Mexicans all over the world.
On September 15 at 11 p.m., the eve of Independence Day, the President of Mexico rings a bell from the balcony of the Mexican National Palace. He yells to the crowd below and they respond by saying Viva. This goes on until after a third time, everyone yells "Viva Mexico." The people then wave flags and ring noisemakers. The Mexican anthem is sung and fireworks are set off to light up the sky.
Other activities that are part of the festivities are:
- Horseback-riding performances
Music is another big part of the celebration. Mariachi bands can be found playing traditional Mexican music while people sing and dance.
While these elements are traditional in Mexico, the holiday is not celebrated the exact same way everywhere. People all over the world can still celebrate this holiday by incorporating traditional Mexican elements into their own celebrations.
Festive Mexican Decorations
True for any celebration, decorations can add to the mood of the party and set the tone. Some common decorations that are a part of the Independence Day celebration are:
- Mexican flags
- Colorful lights
- Balloons and streamers in green, white and red
- Flowers in red, white and green
- Paper lanterns
In Mexico, you will find street vendors selling items on almost every corner. These items include silly string, confetti, whistles and toys. Buildings, cars, streets and houses are all decorated for the occasion.
Traditional Mexican costumes are another part of the celebration. People can be seen in traditional native clothing and as well as in sombreros.
Traditional Mexican Food
Food is a very important part of Independence Day festivities. In Mexico, you will find plenty of street vendors and restaurants featuring a selection of traditional Mexican fare. Many decide to prepare food at home to serve at parties. Some traditional food for a Mexican Independence Day party includes:
- Punch created from different seasonal fruit
- Candies, such as Marzipan or ones flavored with ingredients such as mango or guava
- Pozole, a soup made from hominy and pork
- Roasted lamb
- Menudo, a beef stew
- Queso Fundido, a Mexican cheese fondue
- Chips served with salsa and guacamole
- Beverages such as Mexican beer, sangria or tequila
Games and Activities
Having a variety of games and activities can add an element of fun to any celebration. For an Independence Day party, consider the following:
- Break the piñata: Fill a piñata with candy and small toys and have everyone take a turn hitting it with a stick while blindfolded.
- Mexican hat dance: Place a sombrero in the middle of the floor. Have guests make a large circle around the room while holding hands. When the music begins, everyone walks sideways. Call out the name of one person and have them leave the circle and walk into the middle to dance around the hat. Repeat this until everyone has a turn to dance around the hat.
- Pass the sombrero: This games puts a spin on the game Hot Potato. Have guests stand in a circle. Begin playing music and have guests pass around a sombrero. When the music stops, whoever is holding the hat is eliminated from the game.
- Mexican eating contest: See who can eat the hottest peppers in this eating contest. You can have a range of chili peppers for this contest and have guests work their way up to the hottest without taking a sip of water.
- Limbo: All you need for this game is a stick and two poles. Balance the stick on the poles and have people take turns going under it. Lower the stick after each time and if anyone touches the stick while going under, they are eliminated. You can play Mexican music during the game to add another element of fun and get people into the game.
The perfect compliment to any Mexican Independence Day celebration is fireworks. The sky is lit up on the eve of Independence Day each year to celebrate Mexico's independence. This is when the real celebrating begins and people enjoy the meaning behind the holiday by indulging in a variety of treats, music, and drinks. The celebration continues onto the next day when people enjoy a variety of activities, including a parade.