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

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.

On July 4th, 1776, the majority of Britain's 13 American colonies officially decided to free themselves from British rule. This is what we celebrate on America's Independence Day.

Like the United States of America, 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. This day is called Día de la Independencia, or Mexican Independence Day.

Mexican Independence Day Parade

The History of Mexican Independence Day

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 conquerers. 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 conquerers.

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. He was a Mexican Catholic priest, and most people knew him as Father Hidalgo. He 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. This means ''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.

Painting of Father Hidalgo

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

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