What is the Grito de Dolores?

Quck answer

The Grito de Dolores is a historic event in Mexico that marked the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence. It took place on September 16, 1810, when Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest, made a passionate speech known as the “Grito” or “Cry of Dolores.” Hidalgo called for the end of Spanish colonial rule and encouraged the Mexican people to rise up against their oppressors. This event is celebrated every year as Mexican Independence Day. The Grito de Dolores is a symbol of the fight for freedom and independence in Mexico.


Imagine if you were asked to find the most inspiring speech in history. Which one would you choose? You might think of “The Gettysburg Address” or “I Have a Dream.” These speeches are remembered for a reason. They motivated and urged people to take action.

Today’s Wonder of the Day is about another speech that fits this description. It sparked the Mexican War of Independence and was delivered by a Catholic priest. What speech are we referring to? It’s the Grito de Dolores!

Mexico has been home to indigenous people, including the Aztecs, for thousands of years. When the Spanish invaded Mexico in the 1500s, there was conflict between the two groups. The Spanish introduced their way of life to Mexico and also brought diseases that caused the death of many people. They named the region “New Spain” and ruled over it for three centuries.

By the early 1800s, many Mexicans were discontent with Spanish rule and desired independence. In 1810, a priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla played a significant role in bringing about change. On the night of September 15, Hidalgo gathered the members of his church, rang the church bells to gather a crowd, and then called on them to fight against Spanish rule. His speech, known as the Grito de Dolores, became the rallying cry for Mexican independence.

After delivering the Grito de Dolores, Hidalgo formed a large army and led them towards Mexico City. However, they were defeated by the Spanish, and Hidalgo was captured and arrested. The war continued for another ten years. Eventually, the Treaty of Córdoba established Mexico as an independent nation in 1821. Today, Mexico celebrates its independence every year on September 16.

What is a Mexican Independence Day celebration like? It begins on September 15, when the Mexican president rings the same bell that Hidalgo rang. They then deliver a version of the Grito de Dolores, shouting “Viva México! Viva la Independencia! Vivan los héroes!”

On September 16, people all over Mexico celebrate. There are fireworks, parades, and various festivities. People gather with their friends and families to prepare traditional Mexican dishes. They pay tribute to those who fought for freedom. The holiday is a celebration of the Mexican people and their culture. It has been observed for nearly 200 years, and it all started with the Grito de Dolores!

Try It Out

Are you ready to continue learning? Find a friend or family member who can assist you with these activities:

  • Learn more about Mexican culture! Take a few minutes to read about El Día de los Muertos, Piñatas, and Mariachi Bands! After reading, explain one of these aspects of Mexican culture to a friend or family member.
  • What speech inspires you? If none come to mind, ask a friend or family member to help you find an inspiring speech. Write a paragraph describing what makes it so inspirational.
  • Curious about what Mexico was like before the arrival of the Spanish? Read about two ancient Mexican civilizations, the Aztecs and the Mayas. What did you discover about these peoples? How were they similar or different? Discuss with a friend or family member.

Wonder Sources

  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2018/09/mexico-independence-day-confusion-cinco-de-mayo/ (accessed 23 July 2019)
  • https://www.britannica.com/event/Grito-de-Dolores (accessed 23 July 2019)
  • https://www.loc.gov/wiseguide/sept09/independence.html (accessed 23 July 2019)
  • https://www.history.com/topics/mexico/struggle-for-mexican-independence (accessed 23 July 2019)

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