President López Obrador will deliver the “Cry of Independence” – El Grito – from the National Palace Thursday night, a patriotic ritual engaged in by the nation’s president, as well as political office holders all over the country, every year on the night of September 15 in anticipation of Mexico’s Independence Day on September 16.
For the first time in three years, a crowd of patriots will be on hand in Mexico City’s central square, or zócalo, to echo his “¡Viva México!” exclamations.
El Grito ceremonies in the capital were subdued affairs in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, but patriotic boisterousness will return to the zócalo this year with the worst of the COVID crisis behind us.
Prior to AMLO’s appearance on the presidential balcony of the National Palace at 11 p.m., the Mexican-U.S. norteño band Los Tigres del Norte will warm up the large expected crowd with its repertoire of well-known songs such as “La Puerta Negra” and “Jefe de Jefes.” The Grammy award-winning group is also scheduled to keep the party going with an encore performance after the president has wished “long life” to Mexico and independence heroes such as Miguel Hidalgo and José Morelos.
Before Los Tigres take to the stage for their first set, revelers will be able to watch the National Lottery’s Gran Sorteo Especial (Special Grand Prize Draw), which is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Beachfront lots in Sinaloa and large cash prizes are up for grabs in the raffle, whose proceeds will fund water infrastructure projects in the northern state.
The main event of the night, however, is undoubtedly El Grito, the fourth to be delivered by López Obrador, who took office in December 2018. Similar ceremonies will be held in city and town squares across the country, where governors and mayors will pay homage to those who fought for independence from Spain in the 1810–1821 Mexican War of Independence.
The Grito delivered by modern-day presidents is in itself a homage to a speech given in 1810 by Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo in the town of Dolores, Guanajuato.
In Hidalgo’s speech – known as El Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores) – the clergyman urged mestizos and indigenous peoples to rise up and “free themselves” from the “hated Spaniards” under the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe, who was already a Catholic symbol of Mexico.
As López Obrador channels the “father of the country” in Thursday’s final hour, millions of Mexicans – in the Mexico City zócalo or on television at home, in restaurants and bars and elsewhere – will watch on with pride, despite the many problems the country faces, and join with him in exclaiming “¡Viva México! ”
Many foreigners will undoubtedly be watching as well, including the president’s guests of honor, among whom are former Uruguayan president José Mujica, former Bolivian president Evo Morales, Martin Luther King III, Aleida Guevara – daughter of Argentine-Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara — family members of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and family members of Mexican-American labor leader and civil rights activist César Chávez.
Thursday night’s festivities will precede a military parade in Mexico City on Friday – Mexico’s Independence Day.Wondering what Los Tigres del Norte sound like? Here they are performing their song “La Puerta Negra (The Black Door).”