Merida, Yucatan — Ushering in Independence Day, more than 40,000 people crowded the streets and park outside the government palace Sunday night. They accompanied Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal, and the rest of the nation, in the traditional “Viva México” cheer.
Mexico celebrates 209 years of independence today, but the celebration kicks off the night before. In Merida, it begins with ceremonial music and speeches, and the “el grito.”
A fiesta outside the palace was enlivened by the group La Arrolladora Banda El Limón. Then a bugle call from the state police began the formalities.
The Hall of History, in the 127-year-old government palace, received various state officials including the governor, who addressed the public from the balcony just before midnight.
From there, dressed in the traditional Yucatecan guayabera, Vila invoked the name of the nation’s independence heroes.
“El Grito” refers to El Grito de Dolores, “the cry” that Father Miguel Hidalgo delivered to his parish on Sept. 16, 1810 in the small town of Dolores, in central Mexico.
The cry was a call to the Mexican people to rise up against the Spaniards after dealing with three centuries of Spanish rule.