Sunday, September 18, 2005

Mexican Independence Day

We've been celebrating Independence Day with our Mexican neighbors. We have joined them in flying the Mexican flag from one of our new studio windows. San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo and Queretaro are considered the cradle of Mexican Independence so the celebrations are special. It was 195 years ago that the Mexicans declared their independence from Spain with cries of "Viva Mexico."

About 7:30 on the 15th we walked into town to check out the Jardin. We had no plans to stay for La Grita of "Viva Mexico" which takes place at 11:00 PM because we have done that before and the crowds in the Jardin are huge. You are caught in the masses and you can't move. But we did have dinner at the San Francisco Cafe where we could watch all the developing activities. Families pushing strollers and watching their children dressed in the costumes of the peasants who fought for independence. Young teen girls with shiny hair, tight jeans and tops that give flashes of their bellies. At least one of them would have a cell phone to the ear. Men with a young woman on the arm dressed in a halter top, a short skirt and spike heels....don't ask me how they walk on the cobblestone streets with those heels, I haven't a clue. Older couples parading arm and arm. A trio was playing in the restaurant but they were competing with the music of a dance troupe on the far side of the Jardin and with music videos being shown on a big screen on our side of the Jardin. Layers of sights and layers of noise.

About 10:00 we headed back toward our house and we were obviously going in the wrong direction because hoards of people were walking into town. It was definitely going to be the usual mass of people to shout the Grita. No celebration is without fireworks in Mexico. We went up to the terrace where we can see some of the fireworks but only the tops and smoke of the castillos. When we went to bed we could still hear music from the Jardin. Today Carlos told me that he danced until 3:00 AM and everyone had a wonderful time.

On the 16th is the official celebration. There are parades, bullfights, and of course more fireworks. We have been hearing drum and bugle corps from many of the schools practicing every morning and afternoon for the parade. Beside the drums and bugles there is the Queen of the Festival and her court, many, many school children in their uniforms including sweaters or jackets....forget that it was 90 degrees, police and military. The streets for about 2 miles were lined with people. The Mexicans are very patriotic.

And would you believe, more fireworks, music and celebrations again on the night of the 16th. The Mexicans know how to celebrate.

On Flickr you'll find some photographs of the festivities.

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