The weekend of Mexican Independence is arguably the biggest annual celebration in Mexico…especially right here in San Miguel de Allende.
The Mexican War of Independence marks the end of Spanish rule in 1821. Led by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla who was the priest in nearby Dolores. Father Miguel led a secret group who planned ways to overthrow the tyrannical Spanish government.
Inspired by the Age of Enlightenment and global liberal revolutions, the educated elite of New Spain (as Mexico was then known) had begun to grow tired of colonial relations. Political events in Europe also effected events. Charles IV and Ferdinand VII abdicated in 1808 in favour of Napoleon Bonaparte.
In the same year, in Mexico City, a coup against the then viceroy was unsuccessful. This led to small groups of conspirators meeting in other smaller cities where they planned how to rise again. After being discovered in 1810, local banded together and joined arms together on 16th September 1810.
Over the course of a number of years the movement for independence went through several stages but eventually full independence was achieved on 27th September 1821.
Independence celebrations are taken very seriously here in San Miguel de Allende because it was here that General Ignacio Allende (a native of the town) joined the army as Hidalgo’s chief lieutenant and led the army to several victories. Sadly, Allende was not able to enjoy the new independent Mexico as he was captured and beheaded. The town was renamed in his honor in 1826. Today he is celebrated as a national hero. His home is on the corner of the Jardin and is now a museum-well worth the visit.
Celebrations over this last weekend have been loud and proud! We’ve had fireworks, reenactments, parades and non stop parties going on around us for the last 3-4 days. Mexicans REALLY know how to party hard! On Friday I watched hundreds of horses and their riders come down the hill below our apartment in full cowboy dress to join one of the parades – quite a sight…especially as most of the horses struggled to get across the cattle grate which is directly below our balcony!
Today, Sunday, it’s strangely quiet here. It seems all the chilango’s who have visited from out-of-town have departed again and normality is returning