Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Symbol of Mexican Independence

El Grito de la Independencia, a fierce cry for freedom, has its origins in the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, in 1810. It  marks the beginning of the Mexican revolution against Spanish colonial rule.

A revered symbol but shrouded in myth, the cry for freedom is attributed to a Catholic priest, Miguel Hildago y Costilla.  His supporters included Ignacio Allende, Mariano Abasta and Juan Allende.  These are revolutionary names, familiar names, all firmly implanted here in San Miguel, in its architecture, statues, street names, artistic expressions, folklore traditions.  The El Grito below graces, if that can be the word, the magnificent entrance to the El Grito bar and restaurant.  I've always passed it with fascination, thinking it must be a Mexican version of the devil.

The Battle of Guanajauto was the first revolt against Spain. Independence wasn't declared until September 27, 1821, after a decade of fierce fighting  The mountainous regions of San Miguel de Allende remain sacred territory, the terrain of freedom.  El Grito remains the Patrick Henry of Mexico, the Cry from Dolores.   "Give me Liberty, or give me death!"  Like the 4th of July in the USA,  27 September is celebrated every year, the  most important national holiday in Mexico.  
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