In the early nineteenth century, Mexico, with a little influence from the US and France, began talking about a revolt against Spain. Father Miguel Hidalgo from Dolores, Mexico, was a leader of one of the rallying groups. Hidalgo and his officers were planning a revolt for late fall of 1810. The Spanish people found out about the revolt which led the Spanish Government to order the arrest of Hidalgo and his officers. When Hidalgo found out, he called a meeting at his church. He rang the church bell on the night of September 15, 1810 to call his congregation to mass. Here Father Hidalgo rallied the people to fight. He gave the speech which is now known as ‘Grito de Delores’, saying “Viva Mexico” and “Viva la independencia!” These famous words have been remembered and are said each year at the Independence Day celebrations.
Everyone fought together, including the Criollos (wealthy Mexicans of Spanish descent), Mesizos (children born from the marriage of a Spaniard and an Indian), and Indians. Armed with clubs, knives, stone slings, and ancient guns, they fought as they marched to Mexico City. A battle took place in Guanajuato between the Spanish soldiers and Hidalgo’s followers. The army sacked the town, killing the Spaniards. They continued to fight on their way to the capital. When they finally reached Mexico City, the army hesitated before going in to fight and some of them even disserted the army. Before the year was over Father Hidalgo was captured and executed. Some people continued to fight for the cause and Father Hidalgo’s Grito de Delores (Cry of Delores) became the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence. The people fought for eleven years before they finally won their freedom.
Today Mexico’s Independence Day is a major celebration in Mexico with fiestas all around the country, and Puerto Vallarta’s Independents Day celebrations are no different.
The celebrating begins on September 15 (the eve of Independence Day) where crowds of people gather in the La Presidencia in Puerto Vallarta. When the clock strikes eleven o’clock the crowd gets silent. On the last strike of eleven the Mayor steps out to ringing bells and delivers the traditional Grito de Delores, the battle cry of Independence. He shouts “Viva Mexico” “Viva la independencia” and the crowd echoes back. People do this at the same time all across Mexico. While the crowd says this they fill the air with confetti, streamers and hoopla. Castillos explode in showers of red, white, and green and fireworks explode over the Bay of Banderas.
However, earlier in the day you will find activities all around the city and the Malecòn, including free concerts in the plaza by the Municipal Band at 6 PM in the square. Festivities will be along the Malecòn, sidewalks, and bars and restaurants throughout the city.
The following day, September 16, is a national holiday and the morning kicks off with a parade through centro Puerto Vallarta at 9 AM. Banks and government building will be closed, but plenty of restaurants and shopping will remain open for the holidays and tourists. Independence Day is one of the busiest tourism days for national tourists coming to Puerto Vallarta, second to the Easter holiday.
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Throughout the whole week many festivities will be taking place, including the El Día Nacional del Charro celebrations on Monday, September 14. While the event isn’t related to Mexico’s Independence Day, it makes for a festive week throughout Mexico.
The Charro is recognized as the ‘Official’ sport of the country, even though futbol (soccer) gets much more attention. The Charro is a sport of horsemanship and each September 14 in Puerto Vallarta dozens of showmen demonstrate the Charro in Puerto Vallarta with a parade and show at Los Arcos on the Malecón at 7:00 PM.
The entire week of Independence Day is an exciting time to be in Puerto Vallarta and celebrate the independence of Mexico.