Freedom is awesome. Having the freedom to learn about Mexico’s fight for freedom is, too. Learning cool things about the Mexico Independence Day was really fun. I enjoyed gathering facts and preparing this episode of the Rocky Point Podcast. I think you’ll enjoy learning some cool things by listening. (Or by watching the YouTube video).
Freedom is sure worth celebrating, isn’t it? Just ask any person who lost it or doesn’t have it. We shouldn’t take our freedom for granted today or any day. Nor should we ever forget what our ancestors sacrificed and did to secure it for us. Like in America, such is the spirit of Mexico Independence Day.
September 16th is a very special day on the Mexican calendar for the country. It is also a powerful source of pride for its roughly 125 million people.
The Mexico Independence Day is much more than a national holiday to recognize, celebrate, and enjoy a day off from work. It symbolizes a nation’s story of courage and conviction by its people.
Despite many obstacles and losses, everyday citizens were somehow able to overcome centuries of injustice. Their fight for the independence of Mexico was like a marathon. The people had opponents to beat. They also had to dig in hard and fight through their own personal challenges. This marathon featured a handful of ancient civilizations who each had long runs in power.
The first known was the Olmecs. They had to move aside because of the Mayans. Known for their somewhat surprising advancements, the Mayan culture built fascinating pyramids hundreds of years ago. How they did it, who knows? How they lost their grip was also puzzling. Next came the Toltecs, followed by the Aztec civilization who ruled for 300 years.
Early in the 16th century, the Aztecs got annihilated by the Spaniards. Spanish troops sailed in with more than soldiers. They brought with them deadly diseases such as smallpox and measles. These were powerful weapons and important factors in how the Aztecs were killed off and cast aside from power.
Spain renamed the land it captured as “New Spain.” They must have put a whole lot of time in coming up with that name, don’t you think? One thing is for sure. The Spanish did put a whole lot of time into holding onto power by holding down the people they conquered.
Most of the citizens of New Spain struggled mightily. Many of them were farmers. Under Spanish rule, there was some three hundred years worth of oppression. All of this you could say proved one thing. Finally reaching the Mexico Independence Day was a long, long time coming.
Ironically, religion played a key role in the rise of the fight for independence in Mexico. Catholicism was something the Spanish worked to spread across the New Spain territory it conquered. They were quite successful in sharing the Good Word. It is still visible today. More than 4 of 5 Mexicans are practicing Catholics, though the number has declined in recent years.
The irony here is a couple of generations after taking control, Catholicism would contribute heavily in the Spaniard’s fall from power. The people had faith. While losing optimism and hope, they held onto their faith. But the tale of irony gets even better. Of all people to stand up and call for all citizens to fight for their independence, it was a Catholic priest who would lead them.
Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla is known and loved as “The Father of Mexico.” It is a title he earned then, and still deserves now. As every September 16th rolls around, he is remembered for his faith in God, yes. But it was Father Hidalgo’s faith in freedom, justice, and the strength of his Mexican people which sparked the war. Yet it was also faith that kept the goal alive even after he gave his life for the cause.
Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was truly a unique founding father. I hope you enjoy hearing more about his unique story in this episode. Viva Mexico! Happy Mexico Independence Day!
Once you take in the short and simple story we present, I think you’ll appreciate Mexico Independence Day even more in the future.