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Pepe Aguilar to serenade Mérida for Independence Day

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Merida El Grito
Singer Pepe Aguilar performs in San Jose, Calif., in 2015. Photo: WireImage

Merida, Yucatan — Grammy-winning ranchera singer Pepe Aguilar will join the public in celebrating Mexico’s el grito for Independence Day on the Plaza Grande this year.

The busy singer-songwriter and actor, who also performs in mariachi and pop genres, is the son of music and film stars Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre. Aguilar has won four Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammys. Aside from constant touring, in June Aguilar released his 26th studio album, No Lo Había Dicho.

In May, Aguilar wowed the crowd at Mérida’s Coliseo auditorium with his powerful voice and assertive romanticism, continuing the family tradition by bringing his children on stage. 

Independence Day in Mexico is Sept. 16, but the occasion is welcomed the night before in a free-to-the-public event on the Plaza Grande, with music and fireworks and el grito. (Alternative celebrations can be found at Hacienda Santa Cruz in a benefit for Fundación BAI, and at Door 54. Both offer traditional food and live music for 300 pesos.)

El grito (which translates to scream or cry) is perhaps the most striking Independence Day tradition and a distinctly Mexican display of patriotism.

How el grito goes

At 11 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, citizens gather beneath the governor’s palace balcony and invoke the memory of the country’s historic leaders and heroes. The crowd yells VIVA! in response to each line recited by by the governor:

¡Mexicanos! ¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron patria!
¡Víva Hidalgo!
¡Viva Morelos!
¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez!
¡Viva Allende!
¡Vivan Aldama y Matamoros!
¡Viva la independencia nacional!
¡Viva México!
¡Viva México!
¡Viva México!

This much is commonly known about Mexico’s history: In Sept. 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo cried out to his parish in the small town of Dolores for Mexicans to rise up to fight colonial rule. That event marked the beginning of Mexico’s war of independence.

That was the Grito de Dolores, which is connected to this ritual, celebrated in Yucatán and throughout the country.

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