No cry comes for free or is uttered without cause. In general, it is a reason for being fed up, the last warning of rebellion or the definitive expression of something that can no longer be locked up in the spirit. This is how the great storms end, the required calm is invoked or a new deed begins. Therefore, it is not strange that our Independence was announced with one.
Legend has it that on the morning of September 16, 1810, in the atrium of the church in the town of Dolores, Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla summoned the town to take up arms and with his voice very loud he addressed the parishioners who surrounded them and said: “Compatriots: neither the king nor the tributes exist for us anymore. The moment of our emancipation has arrived; The hour of our freedom has struck. Few hours are left for you to see me march at the head of men who pride themselves on being free. Such heartfelt talk – dear readers will be thinking – is not like the Scream that resonates in our heads every September. And it is very true, because different versions abound.
Lucas Alamán, a very serious and conservative historian —in the true sense of the term— writes that the Grito de Dolores was uttered like this: “Long live religion! Long live Fernando VII! Long live America and die bad government!” ; Fray Diego Bringas, assured that the exact words had been: “Long live America! Long live Fernando VII! Long live religion and death to the gachupines!” Bishop Manuel Abad y Queipo affirms that the priest Hidalgo’s harangue included the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe, and there is no shortage of those who quote the independence captain Juan Aldama, an eyewitness to the Grito de Dolores, when he indicated that the words that Hidalgo would have said that morning they were “Children, help me defend the country. The oppression is over, the tributes are over! Whoever follows me on horseback will have one peso. And whoever follows me on foot, four reales”. “the heroes who gave us a country” because we still didn’t have one.
The celebration of that night in 1810 was not repeated until two years later. Carlos Herrejón Peredo recounts in his book, La Independencia according to Ignacio Rayón, that Ignacio López Rayón’s secretary, Ignacio Oyarzabal, kept a journal of operations that included from August 1812 to September 1814. Hidalgo had already died for the country and Rayón with his insurgents were in Huichapan. From there they commemorated for the first time the beginning of independence. The story, dated September 1812, begins a couple of days before such an important date and reads as follows:
“Day 13 [de septiembre de 1812].- On this day His Excellency arrived [Ignacio López Rayón] to Huichapa, concurring in its entry a large crowd; and both the troops and the neighborhood of this meritorious population, which is constant in the principles of patriotism and honor, have wanted rather to be sacrificed than to cowardly bend their necks to the infamous yoke of the despot (…).”
“Day 16.- With a discharge of artillery and a general return of sheep, the glorious memory of the cry of freedom given two years ago in the congregation of Dolores, by the illustrious heroes and serene gentlemen Hidalgo and Allende, having been announced by band the day before to light up and hang all the streets. His Excellency attended [Ignacio López Rayón] with the lucid accompaniment of his escort, officers and troops to the mass of thanks, in which Mr. Doctor Brigadier don Francisco Guerrero preached, and at the same time he saved the artillery and the company of grenadiers from Huichapa; at twelve o’clock, in the serenade, the two musicians competing with each other, they performed several selected pieces with pleasure of His Excellency [Ignacio López Rayón] and satisfaction of all public.”
The festivities, as is well known, were about to become official, but it was at the inauguration of the Chilpancingo Congress, or Anahuac Congress. On September 13, 1813, when José María Morelos y Pavón read the “Sentiments of the Nation” and in point 23 of it decreed the following:
“Let September 16 be solemnized every year, as the anniversary day on which the voice of Independence was raised and our holy freedom began, because on that day the lips of the Nation were opened to claim their rights and wielded the sword to be heard, always remembering the merit of the great hero Mr. Don Miguel Hidalgo and his companion Don Ignacio Allende”.
The order was promptly obeyed. They changed words and protocol, but from that moment and to date – with almost all rulers and in almost every year – the ceremony has been ritually and festively repeated. We, dressed in green, white and red, supported by a tequila and waiting for the nogada for our chiles, have always been there. Happy and responding to the Cry by shouting ¡Viva México!, as many times as necessary.
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