At dusk on Tuesday, September 15, Tijuana launched several celebrations to kick off Mexican independence day, which begins at midnight every September 16. The largest and most heavily attended of these celebrations was in front of the Palacio in Zona Rio. Thousands of people attended the crowded spectacle, which included live music, a wide variety of foods, and other family attractions, including fireworks.
Security was heavy and well represented by the local and state police, armed forces, federal agents, and fire and ambulance crews. At around eleven in the evening local time, Tijuana mayor Jorge Ramos delivered the traditional grito de independencia, cry of independence. Beginning with ¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva la republica! The gritos also included honoring the past heroes of Mexico.
The gritos de independencia, also called the gritos de Dolores, find their roots from the city of Dolores in the state of Guanajuato. A priest, Miguel Hidalgo, rang the church bell early on the morning of September 16, 1810, and gave a rousing speech to mostly peasants to incite them to fight the non-indigenous Spaniards. This launched a revolutionary war that ranks among the bloodiest and deadliest in the history of the Americas. It lasted for over a decade.
2010 will mark the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence, which will undoubtedly spawn enormous patriotic celebrations not seen since the centennial celebration by then president Porfirio Diaz. It was Diaz in 1910 who moved the beginning of the celebration back to the evening before the actual date, which happens to be the date of his birth.