Mexican Independence Day Lesson for Kids: Facts, History & Celebration

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  • 0:04 Celebrating Independence
  • 0:37 History
  • 1:51 The Celebration
  • 2:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kelly Beaty

Kelly has taught fifth grade language arts and adult ESL. She has a master's degree in education and a graduate certificate in TESOL.

This lesson is about Mexican Independence Day, one of Mexico's national holidays. You will learn about the history of this holiday and the ways it is celebrated by Mexicans all over the world.

Celebrating Independence

Have you ever been to a 4th of July celebration? In some communities, the celebrations can be a big deal… parades, fireworks, cookouts, and the colors of the American flag everywhere! What are we celebrating? In a word, freedom.

Like the United States of America, Mexico has Mexican Independence Day (Día de la Independencia) in which Mexico celebrates the day they officially decided to free themselves from another country's rule. For Mexico, that country was Spain. Like Americans, Mexicans have a national holiday to honor this big step toward freedom.

History

Back in the early 1500s, Spain conquered Mexico. This was not a good thing for the native people, those already living in Mexico, because they were forced to do work for the Spanish conquerors. This went on for nearly 300 years!

Just imagine how it would feel to live your life as a slave to another country for all those years. It would not just be you, but your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents would have also lived as servants to their conquerors.

In the 1800s, the people of Mexico did not have much hope for change. It took strong leaders to get Mexico's poor, defeated people ready to make a change. One important leader was Father Miguel Hidalgo-Costilla, but he was better known as Father Hidalgo. He was a Mexican Catholic priest who cared deeply about Mexico's people, and he wanted to to convince them of the need to fight for their freedom.

In a Mexican town called Dolores, Father Hidaldgo gave a speech called El Grito de Dolores (''The Cry of Dolores''). He spoke on September 16th, 1810, and his words motivated tens of thousands of Mexicans to begin a long fight for independence from Spain.

The war itself was very long. It took 11 years for Mexico to gain freedom from Spain! But it had to start somewhere, and the speech was the starting point, and it was what Mexicans celebrate on September 16th of every year.

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