News from Around Banderas Bay | September 2009
|Celebrate El Mes de la Patria in Vallarta|
September 05, 2009
Puerto Vallarta - In Mexico, September is called El Mes de la Patria (the month of our nation,) and here in Puerto Vallarta, the celebrations are unbeatable. Streets, houses, buildings and cars are decorated with Mexican flags and colorful flowers and excitement fills the air as hotels, restaurants, bars and discos offer specials and entertainment most every night.
On every street corner there are vendors selling flags, balloons, sombreros and rehiletes, all in the national colors of red, white and green, as well as traditional antojitos, punch and Mexican candies. Be sure to try the punch, called "Ponche," it's a drink made of seasonal fruits, sugarcane, raisins and apples, and it's delicious!
Food is always a very important part of Mexican festivities, and during the month of September, Puerto Vallarta Restaurants are serving up special menus brimming with traditional Mexican dishes. Click HERE for a list of Puerto Vallarta Restaurant offering Savory September Specials.
The Fiesta Patrias is Puerto Vallarta's greatest patriotic holiday event, with festivities, entertainment and activities going on almost every night from September 6th through 16th. Click HERE for list of 2009 Puerto Vallarta Fiestas Patrias events.
But September 15th, or the eve of Independence Day, is when the celebration really begins, as Mexicans commemorate the first and most significant episode of the country's history: independence from Spain.
Although there were many heroes, one of the main protagonists of the movement was the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla of Dolores in Guanajuato, Mexico. Hidalgo, a Mexican of Spanish descent, was a disaffected "criolla" who despised the "peninsulares," the privileged Government officials sent from Spain to rule the colony. Time was ripe for revolution, so on September 16, 1810, Hidalgo rang the bell of his little church, calling everyone to fight for liberty.
Although a movement toward Mexican independence had already been in progress since Napoleon's conquest of Spain, Hidalgo's passionate declaration was a swift, unpremeditated decision. "Mexicanos, Viva México!" Hidalgo told the Mexicans as he urged the exploited and embittered Mexicans to recover the land that was stolen from their forefathers. This was the beginning of the Independence War in Mexico, which lasted for 10 years.
Ever since then, people have gathered together in town squares all over the country each year on September 15th to witness a dramatization of the bell tolling and the call to arms in which the president, governor or mayor impersonates priest Miguel Hidalgo, the "Father of Independence."
As the clock begins to strike eleven, silence falls over the citizens as the mayor steps forward to ring the symbolic liberty bell and give the "Grito de Dolores," met by the crowds’ response of "Viva Mexico!" and "Viva la Independencia!" in an emotion-packed traditional annual ritual.
Here in Puerto Vallarta, the September 15th festivities take place on the Plaza Principal, in front of La Presidencia, (the municipal government building) and on the Malecón. There will be traditional Mexican dancers and musical groups, including Mariachis, at Los Arcos Amphitheater.
At 11 pm the Presidente Municipal of Puerto Vallarta, Mayor Javier Bravo Carbajal, will deliver "El Grito," reenacting the historic cry for independence. The ceremony reaches the high point when the crowd joins in proudly shouting out the names of the heroes of Mexico's Independence. When the Grito ceremony ends, the sky lights up with multi-colored fireworks that shower our hearts with the pride of knowing that we are a free and independent nation.
September 16th is a National Holiday, similar to July Fourth in the United States. Most people have the day off from work so they can enjoy fiestas and the parade that winds through downtown. Banks, government offices and about half of the businesses in Puerto Vallarta will close in observance of the holiday, but plenty of restaurants will be open so you can wrap up the festivities with an authentic Mexican dinner.
Click HERE for list of local events - Click HERE for September restaurant specials