September 16th is a very important day for the people of Mexico, as it marks the independence of Mexico from Spain in 1810.

Mexico Independence Day (Día de la Independencia, or 16 de septiembre) is a celebration that begins on September 15th right before midnight, to ring in the early hours of the official holiday.

The colors of Mexico’s flag—green, white, and red—can be seen all around wherever the holiday is celebrated, and delicious traditional foods and drinks are enjoyed with friends and family along with celebratory cries of “Viva México” or “Viva la Independencia.”

A brief history of Mexico’s independence

The Spanish Conquest of the Aztec and other Mesoamerican empires began around 1519, when Spanish galleons under the command of Hernán Cortés arrived on the island of San Juan de Ulúa in search of wealth.

Independence Day in Mexico celebrates the day in 1810 that Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a priest and one of the leaders fighting for Mexico’s Independence, is believed to have made the cry for independence (El Grito de la Independencia, or Grito de Dolores) in the town of Dolores, in the north-central present day state of Hidalgo.

This call to action by Hidalgo and his fellow revolutionaries helped to mobilize the townspeople of Mexico in revolution against the Spanish crown. They eventually won their independence in 1821.

Juan Aldama, José María Morelos, and Ignacio Allende were all among the revolutionaries who helped Hidalgo secure independence from Spain, and their names are also frequently mentioned on this day.

Photo credit: Capital21

How do people celebrate Mexico Independence Day?

In Mexico, many families and friends gather together in groups on the night of September 15th to ring in the holiday at midnight—much like New Year’s Eve. Pozole, pancita, enchiladas, and other traditional foods are prepared and served. Surveys indicated that tequila is the drink of choice by 72 percent of Mexico Independence Day celebrations!

Mexican flags hang throughout public and private spaces, and many people may choose to dress in traditional clothing and play traditional music.

In Mexico, a large independence day celebration is held on the zócalo, Mexico City’s central plaza, on the evening of September 15th. Fireworks and musical performances take place throughout the evening, and around 11 o’clock at night, the President of the Republic and his family go out onto the presidential balcony to recite an updated version of the grito. Not only is the original cry of Hidalgo recreated, but also illustrious people from post-independent Mexico who have made significant contributions are celebrated. The grito ends with shouts of “Viva México!” or “Long live Mexico!”

Celebrations in the U.S.

The U.S. is the largest country outside of Mexico that celebrates the holiday, with a community of people from Mexico at 36 million strong.

Numerous festivals across the country celebrate Mexico Independence Day, including large celebrations in Seattle, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and more. These celebrations often include parades, musical performances, and a local version of Mexico’s Grito de Dolores recited by an important local community member. And of course, the preparation of delicious food and drinks to enjoy with family and friends on this special occasion is the same abroad as it is back home in Mexico!

We hope you get a chance to celebrate this day wherever you are in the world. In recognition of Mexico Independence Day, you can send a gift to a loved one or family member using Remitly’s services.