Today, September 16th is the official date that Mexico celebrates its Independence from Spain. The 16th marks the turning point that united Mexico and turned away from France and Spain which were fighting over Mexico's territory. To put it mildly, residents were trying to live a normal life while Napoleonic Europe was fighting for Monarch power and Spaniards' Cortes courts were being used inside Mexico.
The continual fighting inside Europe was enough for one Priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, in the town of Delores, to call in his congregation. Father Miguel did this by ringing his church bells in the middle of the night and on September 15, 1810 had a sermon, Grito de Delores (Cry of Delores), which rallied untrained rebellions to fight and die for independence. Hidalgo and his followers marched to Guanajuato, a mining center for Spaniards and Creoles, in an attempt to take over their granary. Father Hidalgo did successfully take over the granary on September 28th; however, the untrained rebels got too zealous and killed most Creoles and pillaged Guanajuato. Royalist forces captured Father Hidalgo and executed him on July 31, 1811.
Taking lessons from the capture of Hidalgo, Priest José María Morelos y Pavón wanted to continue where Hidalgo left off. Morelos trained and disciplined revolutionists, including one Vicente Guerrero whom Morelos found capable of supporting the Southwestern side of Mexico. After gaining more control, Morelos traveled to Chilpancingo in November 1813 and called the constituent Congresses to draft a Mexican Independence. Then in October 1814, the draft was approved at the Congress of Apatzingán. Once again, Royalist Forces were called to overtake the revolutionists and tried Father Morelos for Heresy who was shot on December 22, 1815.
All of this was being acted on while Spain was still running a rebellion against Ferdinand VII and their liberal Constitution of 1812. The distraction was enough for Spain to send Agustín de Iturbide to the area in hopes of regaining control. Iturbide and Vicente Guerrero, while on opposing sides, saw the same goal of wanting Mexico to be able to fend for itself while keeping Roman Catholicism the region's religion. The two men came together making three guarantees: 1) Independence from Spain, 2) Unity and Equality for Spaniards and Creoles, and 3) the religion would be Roman Catholicism. The three guarantees were called the Iguala Plan and stated that Mexico become a Constitutional Monarchy under Ferdinand VII and either him or a Spanish Prince would occupy a throne in Mexico City.
While Mexico anticipated someone to rule Mexico, the Army of the Three Guarantees would continue to gain control over land. Finally, when Juan O’Donojú arrived in Mexico to claim the viceregal capital, there was little to no power nor troops for O'Donojú to manage. The diminished support of Spain forced O'Donojú to sign the Treaty of Córdoba, ending the dependence on Spain and declaring Mexico its own Empire on August 24, 1821.
Today, to honor Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla who kicked off the movement for Independence, Mexico Independence Day is recognized on September 16th, though celebrations are all month long. The celebrations start with fireworks on the 15th, dawning vibrant attire, and playing traditional folk music and dance. One of the biggest celebrations is a parade in Mexico City. This month-long celebration is called Mes de la Patria (Month of the Homeland). During this time, The Mexican flag will be waved on Flag Day, September 17th, and many delicious dishes to be shared. Some staples are Chiles en Nogada, Tamales, Pozole, and Mole.
We love to review, understand, and embrace other cultures of those who are around us. The more we understand what is important to our neighbors, friends, and communities the better we can grow and move to a more peaceful future. We love the heart in celebrating becoming independent and like to revisit how one does. To those who are celebrating their family's history, we want to wish you a Happy Independence Day!