While Christmas and Easter are two of the most cherished holidays here in Mexico, Día de la Independencia, Mexico’s Independence Day is without a doubt the largest fiesta. Here’s what you need to know.
Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated on September 16. On this same day in 1810, the revolution was sparked after the inspiring speech El Grito de la Independencia (The Call to Independence) delivered by Priest Miguel Hidalgo of Dolores, Mexico—in the state of Guanajuato. Independence from Spain was not achieved until July 30, 1811, but the holiday is celebrated on the day that the revolution began. Hidalgo was captured and executed about a year after his speech but Mexico continued to fight until they achieved their freedom.
What To Expect
If you will be in Mexico the week of Independence Day you will notice that the fiesta begins several days beforehand—with the celebration getting bigger and more fun each day until the 16th. Expect lots of processions, live music, fireworks, out of town street vendors, horns, whistles, and chanting of ‘Viva Mexico’ and ‘Viva la Independencia’. Public transportation will be limited, many restaurants and businesses will be closed—as well as all government buildings. Here’s the list of road closures in Puerto Vallarta the 14, 15, and 16. With all the pop-up food stands and out of town vendors it’s the perfect day for street food!
Why Many Mexican’s Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Although independence from Spain is celebrated on September 16, the Mexican War (also called the American intervention in Mexico) once again threatened Mexico’s independence. The war lasted from 1846 to 1848 and did not end until Mexico signed a treaty giving up several of its northern territories. However, not all United States soldiers agreed with the takeover—leading to approximately 175 U.S. soldiers defecting and joining the Mexican army.
The defectors were known as the Saint Patrick’s Battalion (Batallón de San Patricio)—due to the fact that most of the soldiers were of Irish-Catholic descent. The battalion also had soldiers who were expatriates and immigrants from Germany, Canada, England, France, Italy, Poland, Scotland, Switzerland, and Spain.
The battalion fought some of the toughest battles of the war. However, the soldiers were captured in battle and sentenced to death or hard labor. Many Mexicans continue to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in honor of the Saint Patrick’s Battalion. Mexico City even has a globally revered Bagpipe Band the San Patricio Battalion who travels Mexico and the world performing in honor of the battalion.
If you’ll be in Mexico for Independence Day be sure to head out and partake in the festivities!