Mexico Trek!   Trekkers DISPATCH: September 14 Silvia's Log

íViva Mexico!

Patriotic FeverWe happened upon Yasmin Aguilar, 17, and Janette Reyes, 15, who explained to us what was happening this special day - Mexican Independence Day. They said "Today is a day when all the people in Mexico come together in the spirit of patriotism. All the people unite, in zocalos (central plazas) around the country, and everyone shares happiness." It's the Mexican equivalent of the American 4th of July!

All around us people were buying little eggshells, 4 for a peso, each filled with confetti and flour. You're supposed to crush the eggshell and throw the confetti in the air.

InterviewingAs evening approaches, Janette said, people start to dance and expectantly wait for the "Grito de Dolores" or "Cry of Dolores," which goes back to the beginning days of the Independence movement from Spain in 1810, when Miguel Hidalgo went to the top of his parish church in Dolores, rang the bell, and asked his fellow countrymen to join him in the fight for Mexico's freedom from Spain. (Check back next Saturday for more information on the Mexican Revolution!)

Janette explained that at 11pm tonight, about 2 million people would be in the Zocalo, expectantly waiting for the President to recreate the Grito by ringing the original bell of Dolores (which now hangs in the Palacio Nacional) and shouting, "íViva Mexico!"

Mexican pride"Todo se adorna" or "Everything is decorated" very beautifully, and the square remains packed until tomorrow, when the soldiers clear some streets for the annual parade, that starts at 10am. Yasmin finds the decorations similar to Christmastime, where the entire square is lit up and there's many things to buy - much of it very cheaply.

I asked her about all the soldiers that were lining the square and she said, "It's not dangerous here at night because all of the people are gathered together. You might get robbed if you separate from the people and go down the side streets, but if you stay here in the Zocalo, it's very safe."

She also pointed out that this celebration occurs nationwide, and in some delegaciones, or mayorships, there is a "Reina de las Fiestas YasminPatrias," or a "Queen of the Patriotic Festivities." It's a beauty pageant, and the most beautiful "queen" receives her crown just before the Grito.

Both Yasmin and Janette explained that this celebration is extremely meaningful to Mexicans here and around the world, and they both enthusiastically invited us to either stay and watch the Grito live or on television at a fiesta. Since it's also Monica's 25th birthday today, she, Jonah, and Shawn are going to a Independence Day/birthday party with the AFS students here in Mexico city tonight. As we said goodbye and turned to leave, Yasmin, Janette, and a few other youth around us snuck up behind us and showered confetti all over us! íViva Mexico!


Related Dispatches: 
Monica - The Shout that Defeated a King
Silvia - íViva Mexico!

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