Tonight Mexico kicks off its independence celebrations with “El Grito”. The tradition goes that the president “reenacts” the Grito on the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City. The Grito (the shout, or yell) actually refers to a short speech Padre Hidalgo gave in 1810 to a small gathering of his followers, mostly indegenous peasants, as dawn approached. Apparently the speech inspired a series of events, most bloody, that eventually won Mexico its independence from Spain. No one knows exactly what Hidalgo said, but he is universally credited for launching the revolution.
One revolutionary, Pedro Garcia, claims Hidalgo´s speech went more or less like this (in Spanish, of course. This translated for your convenience):
“My friends and countrymen: neither the king nor tributes exist for us any longer. We have borne this shameful tax, which only suits slaves, for three centuries as a sign of tyranny and servitude; [a] terrible stain which we shall know how to wash away with our efforts. The moment of our freedom has arrived, the hour of our liberty has struck; and if you recognized its great value, you will help me defend it from the ambitious grasp of the tyrants. Only a few hours remain before you see me at the head of the men who take pride in being free. I invite you to fulfill this obligation. And so without a patria nor liberty we shall always be at a great distance from true happiness. It has been imperative to take this step as now you know, and to begin this has been necessary. The cause is holy and God will protect it. The arrangements are hastily being made and for that reason I will not have the satisfaction of talking to you any longer. Long live, then, the Virgin of Guadalupe! Long live America for which we are going to fight!”
There are local versions of the Grito being held tonight all over the Republic of Mexico. Tonight in downtown Durango, the Grito is given by the provincial govenor from the balconey of the government palace, at about 11:00 p.m. Apparently the center of town is jammed packed with people all night long. I´ll leave Ingrid and Talea at home, and wonder down the the fringe of the activity to get some pictures.
PS Talea had a super day at school. No hot sauce stains on her uniform today. Ingrid has her own blog – check it out: http://www.inkyfournier.blogspot.com