Guide to Mexican Independence

Jorge Chávez
Sep. 12, 2012

But first, a bit of background. If you are intrigued, Wikipedia has a good account of the Mexican War of Independence. In a nutshell, we celebrate our freedom from Spanish colonial authorities, which started in the dawn of September 16, 1810, when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a roman catholic priest in the city of Dolores, Hidalgo, declared independence from the Spanish government in what is known as El Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores. In modern times, El Grito is re-enacted close to midnight of September 15 all over Mexico by local authorities, from city mayors from their offices, all the way to Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón from Mexico City’s famous Zócalo.

As joyful an occasion as the Fourth of July in the US, there are many ways in which you can participate locally. Here are a few ideas and scheduled events:

September 14

Mexico commemorates National Charro Day. Locally, a traditional parade usually travels through Puerto Vallarta’s El Centro, starting at Plaza Lázaro Cárdenas in Emiliano Zapata and continuing north along the Malecón and Morelos St. The parade begins around 11 and it is an excellent opportunity to pull out your camera and capture candid shots of men and women dressed in traditional attire.

September 15

There are a series of civic ceremonies throughout the day at Puerto Vallarta’s Main Plaza, starting with a salute to the Mexican Flag early in the morning. The traditional ceremony begins sometime before midnight, with Puerto Vallarta’s mayor re-enacting El Grito. This is followed by a spectacular display of fireworks all over the bay and a popular party for all Vallartenses in the Main Plaza and the Malecón.

September 16

A civic-military parade takes place along the same streets as Friday’s Charro parade. This time, including local military forces, along with several bands from local elementary schools.

  • Many restaurants celebrate Mexican Independence with special menus for September 15 evening. Others feature a special Mexican menu all month long. Feel free to browse our Restaurant
  • Guide and inquire with your favorite restaurant.
  • Consider dining somewhere in El Centro, so you can be close to the action.
  • Can you say Tequila? Everybody will be drinking it. Might as well join in the fun.


  • Although the de facto language in Mexico is Spanish, our National Anthem has been officially translated (and is actually performed) in several native languates, including Chinanteco, Mixteco and Nahuatl.
  • Originally celebrated on September 16, it was Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz (1964-1970) who conveniently changed the Mexican Independence celebration to September 15 at 11 pm, to coincide with his birthday. Diaz Ordaz is remembered locally for holding an important meeting with US President Richard Nixon in Puerto Vallarta, on August 20, 1970.
  • A cultural promoter, Father Miguel Hidalgo held regular events such as recitals, poetry readings and plays at his private home, known as Francia Chiquita, or Little France. In his spare time, he raised silkworms, an activity forbidden by law.
  • Although seldom seen in circulation, the current $1,000 peso bills feature the portrait of Miguel Hidalgo.


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