Fiestas Patrias – Mexican Independence Parties

September 16th is Mexico’s independence day. Back in 1810 Miguel Hidalgo rang the bell of his church and hollered at the people to rise up and revolt. This is called El Grito de la Independencia. It’s reenacted all over Mexico on the night of the 15th. Last year I saw Enrique Peña Nieto ring it in the center square of Toluca, the capital of the state of Mexico where I live. This year he was elected president of Mexico. He´s one controversial guy, this Peña Nieto.

All over Mexico people celebrate fiestas patrias (patriotic parties). They eat tostadas, enchiladas, pambazos, and pozole. Maybe you’ve never heard of this food, but trust me it’s good. If you are really lucky you can get some chiles en nogada, perhaps the best food in Mexico.

Even the university where I teach had a party.

The day before, on Friday…

I went to my girlfriend’s town Temoaya. They have a big meal/party in the center square of town, under a big tent.

This is one of the three original acts of independence.

Nice people, lots of food, two bands, and lots of dancing.

As the party started winding down, the strays moved right in.

On stage is Adrian Uribe, star of Cien Mexicanos Dijieron, a knock-off of Family Feud. He did a long stand up act in at least three characters – a gay man, an old cowboy type, and Victor, the host of the game show and his naco (low class) character. I didn’t understand all of it, but my girlfriend and everyone standing around us were laughing hysterically.

Then the heavy rain started pounding before Los Tucanes came out. We caught their first song and then went to my house, soaking wet, so we missed the rest of the night. But we could hear the music from my apartment. After the grito, the big moment of the night, like midnight on New Year’s Eve, Joan Sebastian performed. Joan Sebastian is a big deal in Mexican music.

I went last year so I saw the grito then. It happens around 11 PM. The governor of the state (Peña Nieto when I saw it) comes out and rings the bell that hangs in front of the executive palace. Everyone in the crowd yells “¡Viva!”

Then there’s tons of fireworks. People run around spraying each other with cans of foam. It’s like silly string, but foam – same principle, yell and spray people. It’s especially popular with young teenagers.

I went up on my roof for the fireworks, sorry to miss Joan Sebastian but not sorry to be out of the downpour. My girlfriend and I watched Enter the Dragon on my computer. She’d never seen it and it had been years for me. She liked it. Thanks Bruce Lee.


About Ted Campbell

U.S.-Canadian writer, translator and university teacher in Mexico. Travel stories and practical tips on my blog No Hay Bronca: Twitter: @NoHayBroncaBlog // Contact: nohaybroncablog (at)

Posted on October 8, 2012, in Mexico and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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