Mexican Independence Day Celebration Spawns Street Closures in Chicago

Mexican Independence Day

People celebrating Grito de Delores on the eve of Mexican Independence day caused police to close streets in downtown Chicago, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.

A caravan of cars reportedly convened on Columbus Drive at approximately 10:48 p.m. CT. Hundreds of people rode around in their vehicles, honking their horns, and proudly displaying the Mexican flag. Pedestrians cheered from the street,  some toting Mexican paraphernalia. Other passing vehicles exchanged honks while people sat on their car doors and peered through their sunroofs in celebration of Mexican Independence Day.

A tweet from Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications instructed motorists to take an alternate route due to the occasion.  Streets were closed near Michigan Ave. and Wacker Drive. Street closings went as far as Little Village, and 26th Street was closed between Sacramento and Kedzie Avenues.

One participant, Edgar Hernandez, expressed his frustration for the street closures. Hernandez is a lifelong Little Village resident and stated he participates every year in the Mexican Independence Day festivities but said this was the first time police blocked the streets.

He stated it was difficult to pick up his daughter because of the street closures. “Not everybody is doing this; some people are just trying to get home,” said Hernandez.

History of Grito de Dolores

Hernandez indicated they will return to the streets on September 16 to continue their celebration of Mexican Independence Day.

According to Hernandez, “We do this every year — it’s like a tradition — we go downtown, meet up on Pulaski or wherever you meet up, and then everyone just leaves,” Hernandez said. “We’re just cruising, I don’t feel like we’re up to no good. We’re just literally cruising, beeping, ‘Viva Mexico,’ and that’s it.”

Grito de Delores (Cry of Delores) is celebrated on the eve of Mexican Independence Day. The Grito de Dolores, initiated by Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, is the call to arms that sparked Mexico’s war for Independence from Spain in 1810.

In Mexico, on the eve of Mexican Independence Day, the President of Mexico rings the bell Father Costilla rang nearly 200 years ago. He recites the “Cry of Delores” speech in front of half a million people. The event is broadcast live to millions in Mexico on TV and radio.

Mexico’s Independence on Sept. 16, 1810, ended 300 years of Spanish rule. This momentous occasion has been celebrated annually ever since.

On Aug. 24, 1821, Mexico was declared an independent country.

Some people confuse Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of the outnumbered Mexican army defeating the French militia in 1862.

Written by Sheree Bynum
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

Chicago Sun-Times: City closes streets in downtown, Little Village amid Mexican Independence Day celebrations; Sam Kelly and Carly Behm

National Today: Mexican Independence Day – September 16, 2020

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Jorge Mendoza-Torres’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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