Patriotic fever will engulf downtown Guadalajara from early afternoon on Friday, September 15, when Mexicans of all ages and backgrounds turn out in large numbers to celebrate their national day, waving flags, wearing giant sombreros, blowing horns, munching traditional foods and reveling in the unique, festive atmosphere.
There is no exact record of the rousing speech by Padre Miguel Hidalgo that set off a nationwide revolt against the Spanish in September 1810, but the spirit is captured in modern day orations that invariably climax with a litany glorifying national heroes and howling cheers of “Viva Mexico!” at exactly 11 p.m.
This outpouring of national pride eschews class barriers and – perhaps apart from when the national soccer team is playing – unites the country like no other event.
Jalisco Governor Aristoteles Sandoval will deliver the fifth “Grito” of his administration from the balcony of the Government Palace in the city center. Once he has symbolically waved the national flag, he – along with thousands of revelers packed into the Plaza de Armas – will watch a lively firework display.
For a “Grito” experience without the downtown crowds, head to either one of two popular spots on the western side of the city. The Glorieta Chapalita hosts a relaxed Grito party with all the right (culinary) trappings, as does the park at Bach and Millet in Colonia La Estancia. The Grito is “shouted” on time at 11 p.m.
The metro-area municipalities – Tonala, Tlaquepaque, Zapopan, Tlajomulco – all celebrate in the same manner, with grito ceremonies in their main plazas.
And if you want to get the flavor without venturing out, the Grito delivered by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in the Zocalo in Mexico City is broadcast on all national television channels.
The following day, Saturday, September 16, is Independence Day itself — a national holiday, when schools, businesses, government offices, consulates and most stores will close.
Guadalajara’s traditional Independence Day parade begins 10 a.m., on Av. Chapultepec, due to ongoing work on the third subway line in the city center.bn