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Mexican Independence Day 16 de Septiembre:

El Grito de Independencia by May Herz

Lighted decorations are set up in every city, the most spectacular being those of the Zócalo, main plaza, in Mexico City.  This main plaza of every town and city is the place where the great 16 De Septiembre celebrations take place. People of all ages come to this fiesta, to take part in the collective gaiety!

Food is always a very important part of these festivities. Literarily hundreds of stands are set up several days before and offer the traditional antojitos, most aptly described as a variety of finger foods, Mexican candies, and punch.  Punch. ponche, is a drink made of fruits that are in season: guayabas, sugarcane, raisins and apples, and such a delicious aroma!

During September, Mes de la Patria, the month of our nation as it is called in Mexico, restaurants serve traditional Mexican dishes, such as Mole Poblano, Chiles en Nogada, Guacamole and chips.

During the evening of September 15, people start gathering in the zócalo. Many people walk around dressed in typical Mexican dress: men as Charros and women as China Poblanas, or indigenous dresses. Those who don’t own a typical outfit, at least dress find something to wear in the colors of the flag.

Live Mariachi Music bands play to the delight of all present. There are also photography stands where one can have a picture taken, attired with a sombrero and atop a wooden horse!

The euphoria is collective and all are prepared to shout, yell and make as much noise as possible with fake trumpets, noisemakers and whistles!

As the evening advances, the plaza gradually fills with more and more people; suddenly there is practically no room to move. Excitement and euphoria reach a crescendo at the culminating moment when a government official arrives in the zócalo, at 11:00 P.M. to give the grito or cry of Independence.  This ritual recreates the moment in which Father Hidalgo, gathered his followers in Dolores Guanajuato.

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