Mexico City’s “El Grito” celebrations mark the beginning of the Independence Movement. That launched in earnest in 1810, on September 16. It’s a big national holiday, and one that international visitors can’t help but notice.
The biggest commemoration of the event is in El Zócalo, the main square in Mexico City. And there are dozens of celebrations going on in just about every direction from the Zócalo. The entire area is lit up. But it’s not the only place to get your Grito on.
But for normal Mexican people, the celebration goes on in restaurants, cantinas, and similar establishments all over the city. Here’s what they’re doing and, therefore, what is recommended to celebrate “El Grito”:
- Eating traditional pozole. This is a big deal, and most people will tell you, you have to eat it at least once in the day before or after the actual celebration.
- Chiles en nogada, the Puebla contribution to national cuisine is another good one. September 15 marks just about the close of the season for the Red, White, and Green dish. It’s a chile poblano stuffed with ground meat, nuts, and dried fruit. It’s then covered in walnut sauce, and sprinkled with red pomegranites. (That’s the part that goes out of season, so you really can’t get them all year.)
- Eat other Mexican food. Of course, with so many people out, the streets are steaming with people making – and consuming pambazos, tamales, tostadas, sopes, flautas, quesadillas – and more.
- Live it up in the local Cantina. Normally old-man bars, some of them will stay open late on September 15. You can usually sound out the bigger celebrations as the mariachis are being called in.
- Learn a traditional song or two. Life in and around the Plaza Garibaldi can stretch well into the wee-hours. Of course, the area is lined with revelry, and it’s not just on September 15. The Mercado San Camilito will also help with point #1, 2 & 3 above.
- Needless to say, the other reason that el Grito is such a big nightlife event, is because nobody has to work the next day. For that, the Zona Rosa is always big with the LGBT community, among others. But revelers will be out in La Condesa and Roma, too. Insurgentes Sur has its own long stretch of night spots.
- Alternatively, you can also sleep early. Much of September 16 is spent on #1, Pozole, #2, Chiles en Nogada, and #3 (other food) too. It’s also a day especially for family. So you can enjoy it with yours, or with friends.
It’s a big deal in Mexico City, but just because lots of spots normally of interest to International Visitors are closed, there’s no reason not to make the most of it.