El Día de la Independencia falls in September for many of the Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas. Mexico celebrates on September 15 and 16, with the Grito de la Independencia, music, fireworks, and parades. The first Grito occurred at dawn on September 16, 1810, when Padre Miguel Hidalgo de Costilla called to the people of Dolores to rise up against the Spanish crown. That rebellion led to the Mexican War of Independence.

Just two days later, on September 18, 1810, Chile declared its independence from Spain. Today Chile celebrates the date during a week of fiestas patrias that include parades, rodeos, dance competitions, and special foods.

Eleven years later, on September 15, 1821, a large part of Central America also proclaimed its independence from Spain, becoming El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Honduras. These countries celebrate their independence on the 14 and 15 with a focus on students: parades, assemblies, and sports competitions.

Vocabulario para celebrar
la antorcha torch
la banda band
las fiestas patrias patriotic holidays
el grito shout
el recorrido run, journey
proclamar to declare

Describe three activities that take place during the Mexican and Central American Independence Day celebrations in which you would like to participate.

El Grito de la Independencia On the night of September 15, the president of Mexico commemorates el Grito by ringing a bell, proclaiming ¡Que viva México!, and waving the Mexican flag from a balcony above the Zócalo. Crowds gather below to participate in the Grito.


Fiestas patrias Costa Rican school children, dressed in colors of their country, dance in a parade.


El recorrido de la antorcha Runners carrying a flaming torch start in Guatemala and end in Costa Rica. All along the route, uniformed schoolchildren wait expectantly for the torch to pass.
  1.   Compare the way your town or city celebrates Independence Day with the celebrations in Mexico and Central America. How are they similar? Are there any differences?
  2.   How do you celebrate Independence Day? Do you participate in community events or have a special tradition?