Saturday, September 18, 2010

El Grito

Mexico's founding story is much gnarlier, bloodier and more colorful than ours. We have hokey legends like Paul Revere and the Boston Tea Party; they have human sacrifice, rebel priests and dashing revolutionaries like Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. Just look at our flag--a few stars and stripes stitched together by some old spinster named Betsy Ross; the Mexican flag, on the other hand, details a peyote-fried Aztec legend, in which the god Huitzilopochtli tells the people of Tenochtitlan to build their city at the spot where an eagle is perched atop a prickly-pear cactus, devouring a snake.

This past week Mexico celebrated its bicentennial--more specifically, the 200th anniversary of the grito de Dolores, the rebel-yell which set Mexico's war of independence into motion. On the 15th of September, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest in the small town of Dolores, managed to spring some eighty of his revolutionary comrades from jail. At dawn the next morning, he rang the church bells and gathered his forces, spurring them on to fight for independence. Will you free yourselves?, he thundered. Will you recover the lands stolen three hundred years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once... death to bad government! Death to the gachupines!

Here in Chicago, there was a big celebration in Millenium Park, featuring the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico and a host of other performers. I didn't stick around long enough, unfortunately, to hear the grito, but I did take a few pictures:


  1. You're getting awfully good with that narrative lens of yours, Emilio. Have you read The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver? It's about Mexico. I think you'd like it. Your Da.

  2. wait a minute, that doesn't look like Germany! I'm slow, I guess you are back stateside. I love mole.