The 15th of September is independence day here in Mexico. Suddenly, the streets are closed in town centres and fill with people sporting tricolour hats, wigs and yes, eyelashes. They proudly wave the Mexican flag and squeeze into the Zólcalo, the main square, in cities across the country. In the capital, a balcony of the parliament overlooks the thousands packed into the square from which the President will perform “el grito”.
Surrounded by his wife and children, he yells “Viva México!” to a celebratory crowd, which responds to each of his cries with “Viva!”. Fireworks then alight the night skies and patriotic music blasts through the air. These scenes are repeated around Mexico, with local mayors performing el grito in their cities and towns.
Foreigners may know Cinco de Mayo and el Día de los Muertos as traditional Mexican celebrations, but it is truly on September 15th that Mexicans put on their party hats, proud of their independent nation.