Mexican Independence Day 2021: Chicagoans celebrate across the city

By Irvin Ibarra, Staff Reporter

Flags of many Latin American countries, a majority of which were Mexican, filled the streets of Chicago this past week leading up to the start of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The warm-up to Mexican Independence Day — “El Grito De Dolores,” which translates to “The Cry of Dolores” and is sometimes referred to as “El Grito” for short — is celebrated annually on Sept. 15, the eve of Mexican Independence Day.

Since the Aug. 16 announcement of the Mexican Independence Day parade cancellation in Little Village, local residents created alternative plans for celebrating their countries’ independence day.

In Little Village, 26th Street was packed with residents sitting on top of their cars, waving their countries’ flags. Many drivers held down their car horns, some even beeping to the tune of “Viva México,” or “Long Live Mexico.”

The scent of tire rubber burnt out on the asphalt of the streets and its smoke filled the area as residents walking down the road cheered alongside those in their cars.

On South Pulaski Street in Archer Heights, vendors stood on opposite sides of the street selling Latin American flags in all sizes on the day of “El Grito.“

Juan Manuel Cazadero was one of those who stood on South Pulaski Street selling flags.

“They’re our roots,” Cazadero said in Spanish. “So that people don’t lose their roots [about] their independence.”

“El Grito” refers to the first cry for independence by Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest from Guanajuato, Mexico, against the Spanish colonial government on Sept. 16, 1810.

The 15th of September is not only “El Grito de Dolores,” it is also Central American Independence Day, with El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala each declaring their independence against Spain on the same day. Chile celebrates its independence on Sept. 18.