You’re invited to a countrywide party in Mexico

By Bob Schulman

Church in Dolores where Father Hidalgo gave El Grito. Photo by Bob SchulmanPhoto courtesy of the Mexico Tourism Board.

You’re in luck if you happen to be in Mexico on Sept. 16. Wherever you are down there, don’t be surprised if you’re invited to the likes of colorful fiestas, mariachi concerts, hotel fests, block parties and sing-alongs in the cantinas while fireworks liven up the sky that night.

That’s because Sept. 16 is Mexico Independence Day, marking the day in 1810 when Father Miguel Hidalgo, in an impassioned speech in the little town of Dolores, urged Mexicans to rise up against the Spanish government. They did, sparking what became a 10-year war for independence.

Mexico’s president will kick off the celebration on the 16th by ringing a bell – as Father Hidalgo did to gather his flock – and repeating the priest’s iconic “Cry of Dolores” (also known as “El Grito”). In past years, better than a half-million onlookers turned out for the presidential event followed by musical merry-making and one of the world’s most spectacular fireworks shows.

Similar celebrations staged around Father Hidalgo’s speech will take place on the 16th in cities across the country. Out on the Yucatan Peninsula at Campeche, for example, tourists are welcome to join townsfolk whooping it up at the city’s Moch-Couho Plaza next to the government palace. Down in Acapulco, you can join join the locals’ joyful chanting (all you need to do is shout “Viva” when everyone else does). Then enjoy the fireworks, visit food booths along the pier and party until dawn.

Bell rung by Father Hidalgo on display in Dolores. Photo by Bob Schulman.Here’s a sampling of festivities planned for the celebration at some of the top hotels in Cancun: At the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach guests can see a live TV broadcast of the Independence Day ceremony in Mexico City; at the Live Aqua, a “Chef’s Parade” will spotlight the celebration at a poolside food-tasting; and at the Grand Oasis, a special “Grito de Independencia” event will feature a Mexican “kermasse” or block party by the pool and garden.

Beach parties at the Bahia Principe hotels on the Riviera Maya will offer beach parties featuring Independence Day “charreria” shows (Mexican rodeos).

Among hotels celebrating the event in Puerto Vallarta, the Fiesta Americana will stage ballet and mariachi performances while hotel staffers mosey around in traditional outfits known as “charro and china poblana” before the night is wrapped up with – you guessed it – a fireworks show.

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