Officially, Mexico’s Independence Day is tomorrow the 16th, but the party starts tonight. That’s because in the evening of September 15th, exactly two centuries ago, the fight for independence from Spain began. Like most good legends, this one is simpler than reality—Mexico didn’t really get its independence until many years later (1821)—but it all began that night with a shout from Miguel Hidalgo, in a little town near where I’m living, now called Dolores Hidalgo. “Mexicanos, Viva Mexico!”
This priest rang the church bells, shouted for the people to join him, and the next day marched to what is now San Miguel de Allende with the turncoat military officer it’s now named after: Ignacio Allende. The rebels expected a fight, but instead thousands joined them and they were off. The first big battle was three days later where I am now, in Guanajuato.
As you can imagine, it’s going to be a crazy few days here. One of the joys of living in a foreign country is the calendar is all out of whack. The comfortable routines are gone and you get shaken out of your stupor. I’ll really get shaken out here because Mexicans LOVE fireworks! There’s no bad time to set off M-80s, cannons, exploding bottle rockets, or firecrackers. Seven in the morning is also a fine time for drum and bugle corps to march down the street.
So I won’t get much sleep, but this is a great time to be in Mexico. All the decorations are up, the people are smiling, and there’s an electric excitement in the air.
Maybe too much excitement: in a move designed to protect the people from themselves, the government has declared that nobody can sell alcohol “de las 00:00 horas del 15 de septiembre hasta las 24:00 horas del 17 de septiembre.” So I just stocked up on tequila. They’re not completely unreasonable though: exempt are all the bars, restaurants, and any other place where you go to have a drink instead of carrying it onto the streets.