Friday, September 18, 2009

Dia de Independencia, San Miguel, Sept. 15 and 16, 2009

On September 15, 1810 Father Hidalgo, a Mexico war hero and patriot,
called upon his countrymen to rise up against the Spanish
conquistadors who had enslaved Mexico for 300 years. El Grito, the
cry of Viva Mexico! (and the response from the crowd) was famously
heard at 11pm on the 15th. On the 16th the war began as the peasants
took up arms against the Spanish (and finally declared victory 11
years later). These two days, and the week leading up to them, mark
Mexico's biggest period of celebration. Fortunately we were here in
San Miguel to witness it.  The first shot is the first reenactment of
El Grito, with hundreds of horseman who rode to San Miguel from
Queretaro, about an hour away.

It's 9:30am (September 16) and the fireworks have been going off since at least six, when I woke up. It has been this way off and on for the last 10 days. Major fiesta on October 3 at 4am (in honor of the town's most revered saint, The Archangel San Miguel). Don't know that we will make it to the jardin for that one. Sam saw El Grito (the cry for freedom) on September 15 and the show at 11pm. I had to pass. But we took the boys up for the September 16 show (the actual Dia de Independencia). Hard to believe how laissez faire everything is. We're standing, oh, about 15 feet, from these iron structures about 80 feet tall that are covered with spinning iron pinwheels that shoot off flames and fireworks as the dynamite moves up the pyramid. When the juice finally gets to the top, the last piece of the structure spins around so hard it flies off in a flaming spaceship, into the sky, and onto the ground, somewhere. The first night in landed in the crowd near the bandstand in the center of the jardin. Sam didn't see if there were casualties. Our night it went whirling off down Umaran, probably landing in the center garden of Mama Mia's. Molten hot metal in your margarita. Or branding your face.

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