SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Two hundred and nine years ago today, Father Miguel Hidalgo rang the bell in the small town of Dolores as he cried out to the Mexican people to rise up against the Spanish rule and fight for independence.
Following a more than 10-year-long war, Mexico was finally free.
Mexican Independence Day is celebrated every 16th of September not only in Mexico, but around the world.
Though there are infinite parts that contribute to the country’s greatness, below is a list of 16 parts of Mexican culture that remind us why we celebrate Mexico today and every day.
1. La Bandera
The Mexican flag is more than a design on a piece of material — it’s symbolic.
The colors are also huge.
Green, white and red make up the beautiful flag with the coat of arms dead in the center as the cherry on top.
Though the colors and design are charming, Mexico’s flag has a very real meaning behind it.
The green symbolizes hope, the red symbolizes the blood of the nation’s heroes, the white symbolizes unity and the coat of arms represents the legend of how the Aztecs chose the site for their capital city.
2. La Música
Mexico is known to have some of the most diverse music in the world.
The music is influenced by history, legends, life and love. It can make you cry one moment, and make you get up and dance the next.
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about Mexican music is Mariachis.
Mariachis dress in traditional silver studded charro outfits, “traje de charro” is based on the clothing style of a type of horseman, the charro.
Mariachis typically pair el traje de charro with a matching sombrero.
If you’re still lost, think of the song “La Cucaracha”, which is a well-known song mariachis tend to play.
Ranchera is a genre in Mexico similar to what country music is in the United States.
Ranchera music celebrates love, family life, and patriotic stories.
It is unique with its type of yells incorporated in songs, referred to as “El Grito Mexicano”, that sets it apart from other Mexican music genres.
Yes, more yelling!
Corridos are long ballads that narrate political and popular issues in the country.
Over the years, themes have changed to reflect the Mexican experience north of the border in the U.S.
Many corridos express the lives of migrant workers, the immigrant experience and stories of those involved in the drug trade
Banda bands focus heavily on the percussion.
The music genre originated in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa.
It is not so much one type of music, rather it incorporates many popular Mexican genres.
Banda bands are large, usually consisting of somewhere between 10 – 20 members.
Norteno music uses an accordion and a twelve-string guitar known as “bajo sexto” along with other instruments.
The music is upbeat and it is popular in Northern parts of Mexico.La Comida
3. La Comida
It’s hard to honor Mexico without mentioning the food.
Hope you’ve already eaten because this list might make you hungry.
- Chiles en nogada
- Aguas frescas
Soccer is huge in Mexico and for Mexicans around the world.
Although Mexico was one of the first countries to be part of FIFA, soccer didn’t get big in Mexico until the 1970 World Cup.
This time changed the way people viewed Mexico, many began to respect the country and its team.
Mexico showcased its talent and skills on the field all the way to the quarter finals.
Even though they were eliminated, the team’s run for the championship had every kid wanting to be a professional soccer player.
Despite not having the best results in the World Cup, the sport has remained a significant part of Mexico’s culture and the team is considered to be a tough opponent.
Some big names are Javier Hernandez, better known as “Chicharito”, Hugo Sánchez, Rafael Márquez, Jorge Campos and many more.
5. El Grito
On the evening before Independence Day, crowds gather in plazas throughout Mexico to join political leaders in “El Grito”. It is a tradition that the president will come out, ring the bell and join the crowd. Read more on “El Grito” here: https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/16-de-septiembre-everything-you-need-to-know-about-el-grito/
6. Dia de la Raza
In the U.S., Americans celebrate Columbus Day Oct. 12.
In Mexico, the day is celebrated as the Día de la Raza, “Race Day” to recognize the mixed indigenous heritage of Mexico.
If it’s one thing Mexicans know how to do, it’s how to throw a party. Whether it’s a wedding, graduation party, game day (soccer) — Mexicans will celebrate and celebrate good.
Many Mexican families will celebrate just about anything.
Your tia that doesn’t know how to drive just passed her driving test? Let’s celebrate.
Decorations, lots of food, lots more beer, games, music and family make the perfect fiesta.
And the best (or worst) part about the parties is they never end!
8. Dia de los Muertos
Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of life and death.
It is celebrated from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.
The traditional Mexican holiday is often misunderstood as “Mexico’s Halloween”.
Several years ago, those in Mexico thought it was wrong to mourn over the death of a loved one.
Rather, they believed the life should be celebrated.
So now, during Día de los Muertos, Mexicans set up altars “ofrendas” with items the person most loved.
Usually, the ofrendas have food, pictures, candles and flowers.
This is done to “bring in the spirits” of loved ones, hoping the items will attract each person.
9. Las Playas
Many often forget just how beautiful Mexico is, especially its beach cities.
To name a few, Cozumel, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas.
The history of agriculture in Mexico goes back thousands of years, and today farming continues to help shape the country’s environment, economy and culture.
More than half of Mexico’s total land area is used in agriculture, with crop production accounting for 13-percent of the total national territory
11. Lucha Libre
Lucha Libre is professional wrestling in Mexico. It hasn’t been around for very long, but it’s grown to be very popular throughout the country. It’s more than grown people fighting each other. It’s the colorful masks, the fans, the crazy, intense, high-flying moves. Though it is a competition, everyone really just comes together and has fun.
12. Tequila y cerveza
Everyone — for better or worse — knows tequila, but do you know its history?
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant.
It must use only blue agave plants versus other plants or it just isn’t Tequila.
In the small town of Tequila in the 1700s, the Cuervo family (sound familiar?) began distilling Tequila.
Soon after, the Sauza family began to do the same.
Years later, Tequila was imported to the U.S. and around the world.
Add some lime and salt and it’ll be a great night.
Mexican art is unique and special.
It is often described as innovative, inspiring, vibrant.
Art in Mexico goes all the way back to the Olmecs, Incans, Mayans and Aztecs, who really paved the way for artistic creation in the country.
Another popular form of art is Mexican Folk Art “Artesanía”
Folk art and crafts are completely handmade, original and decorative.
This type of art is primarily used for Dia de los Muertos, though you can see the art year-round.
Mexican Ceramic Art is also widely known throughout the country and elsewhere.
Mexican ceramics have influenced several designs in other countries and other cultures.
The Mexican natives created ceramics using their hands to shape the pottery.
They made plates, jugs, cups, and pots, using mostly red and orange clay.
Today, lots of wall and floor designs are inspired by the Mexican art.
Some famous Mexican artists include David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera (who married Frida Kahlo) and Jose Clemente Orozco.
14. The Indigenous
There were several Indigenous Mexican Tribes who lived in Mexico before the Europeans arrived in the 15th century.
The Olmecs are known to be the oldest civilization in Mexico.
The Aztecs are one of the most popular indigenous Mexican groups.
The Zapotec and Maya civilizations also were and are well-known throughout the country.
Don’t let the names scare you and not allow to try some of the best Mexican desserts.
Champurrado is a foamy, hot drink that tastes like chocolate with a sprinkle of spice.
Capirotada is a traditional dessert served during Lent.
There are several ways to make the sweet snack, but the basic ingredients include bread, milk, dried fruits, cheese, sprinkles, nuts and coconut
Pan Dulce “sweet bread” is exactly what it sounds like.
There’s a huge variety of sweet breads, one of the most popular being the “concha”.
Buñuelos, the classic traditional Mexican dessert, are made of deep fried dough.
The crunchy and crispy ball or disk-shaped pastries are covered in cane sugar and cinnamon.
16. Mexican Pride
It was only right that I end with Mexican pride.
No matter where we are in life, what we have, what we don’t have, who we’re with, how we’re feeling… we always carry our pride.
Pride is seeing a Mexican flag and instantly smile.
It’s supporting Mexican businesses.
Pride is blasting Rancheros in your car with the windows down while people brazenly stare at you.
We are loud and proud of our people and our culture.
We are hard-working, strong, wise human beings who raise hard-working, strong, wise human beings.
We are the most selfless, caring, kind people.
We are accepting.
We open our doors to any and everyone.
We are Mexicans.
Somos orgullosos Mexicanos.