16th september (’22): Cry of dolores [Mexico]

The Cry of Dolores (Spanish: Grito de Dolores) occurred in Dolores, Mexico, on 16 September 1810, when Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang his church bell and gave the call to arms that triggered the Mexican War of Independence. The Cry of Dolores is most commonly known by the locals as “El Grito de Independencia” (The Independence Cry).

Every year on the eve of Independence Day, the President of Mexico re-enacts the cry from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City, while ringing the same bell Hidalgo used in 1810. During the patriotic speech, the president calls out the names of the fallen heroes who died during the War of Independence and he ends the speech by shouting Viva Mexico! three times followed by the Mexican National Anthem.

Close-up of balcony where the president of Mexico gives the annual ‘Grito de Dolores’ on Independence Day

Image extracted from the book by Vicente Riva Palacio, Julio Zárate (1880) “México a través de los siglos” Tomo III: “La Guerra de Independencia” (1808 – 1821).
In the 1810s, what would become Mexico was still New Spain, part of the Spanish crown. The independence movement began to take shape when José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara went to the small town of Dolores (now known as Dolores Hidalgo) and asked the local Roman Catholic priest, Miguel Hidalgo, to help initiate an effort to free New Spain from Spanish control.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Gutiérrez de Lara went to Washington, D.C. for military support (being the first Mexican to do so).] Hidalgo remained in Dolores, waiting for Gutiérrez de Lara to return with military support. However, fearing arrest, Hidalgo told his brother Mauricio to make the sheriff free the pro-independence inmates there. Mauricio and armed men set 80 inmates free in the early morning hours of 16 September 1810. Around 2:30 a.m., Hidalgo ordered the church bells to be rung and gathered his congregation. Flanked by Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, he addressed the people in front of his church, urging them to revolt. His speech became known as the “Cry of Dolores”.

The liberated country adopted Mexico as its official name. Mexico’s independence from Spain took a decade of war. Gutiérrez de Lara commanded and led Mexico to victory. Independence was achieved by the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire 11 years and 12 days later, on 28 September 1821. However, Hidalgo is credited as being the “father of his country”.

The day of 16 September was first celebrated in 1812 in Huichapan, Hidalgo. It was given the status of a national holiday in the Constitution of Apatzingán, ratified by the conventions of 1822 and 1824, and first celebrated nationally in 1825.

The Cry of Dolores has assumed an almost mythical status. Since the late 20th century, the event has come to symbolize Mexican independence and to initiate Independence Day ceremonies the following day (16 September). Independence Day in Mexico is a patriotic holiday, marked by parades, concerts, patriotic programs, drum and bugle and marching band competitions, and special programs on the national and local media outlets.

Every 15 September at around 11 p.m., the President of Mexico stands on the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City and rings the same bell that Hidalgo rang in 1810, which was moved to the National Palace. The President then recites a shout of patriotism (a Grito Mexicano) based upon the “Grito de Dolores”, with the names of the important heroes of the Mexican War of Independence who were there on that historic day. The Grito ends with the threefold shout of ¡Viva México!

The Grito often differs slightly from year to year to reflect recent sentiments, or a preference by the President for a shorter or longer shout. This is the version often recited by the President of Mexico:

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