The official start of Mexican Independence Day begins with El Grito the night before.

According to historians, this celebration recreates the so-called cry of independence from priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla that took place at dawn on September 16, 1810, in what is now known as Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato.

Although historians do not agree exactly on what words were called out, today El Grito is a harangue where the heroes of Mexican independence are remembered. It concludes with “¡Viva México!”

On September 16, 1810—the date now celebrated as Mexican Independence Day—Hidalgo issued the “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), calling for the end of Spanish rule, for racial equality, and for redistribution of land. The speech effectively launched the Mexican War of Independence (1810–21).

From El Grito ceremonies and concerts featuring famous Mexican musicians to art exhibitions and festivals for the whole family, the day is always commemorated in a massive way and usually aims to educate and emphasize the importance of the date for those who live in the United States.

The El Grito ceremony is a patriotic Mexican festivity that occurs every year at the Zocalo in downtown Mexico City.

The short nationalistic non-religious service is led by the president of Mexico with the El Grito recalling the struggle for independence that Father Don Miguel Hidalgo led.