Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by WonderTeam. WonderTeam Wonders, “What is the Grito de Dolores?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, WonderTeam!

What if you were asked to find history’s most inspiring speech? Which would you choose? You might think of “The Gettysburg Address” or “I Have a Dream.” There’s a reason these speeches are remembered. They inspired people and pushed them to act.

Today’s Wonder of the Day is about another such speech. It started the Mexican War of Independence. It was given by a Catholic priest. What are we talking about? It’s the Grito de Dolores!

Indigenous people, including the Aztec civilization, have lived in Mexico for thousands of years. When Spanish people invaded Mexico in the 1500s, the two groups clashed. The Spanish brought their way of life to Mexico. They also brought germs that killed many people. They called the area “New Spain” and ruled the country for three centuries. 

By the early 1800s, many Mexican people were angry with Spain. They were ready to be their own nation. In 1810, a priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla helped change everything. On the night of September 15, Hidalgo rounded up the members of his church. He rang the church bells until a crowd formed. Then, Hidalgo called on them to fight against Spanish rule. His speech, called the Grito de Dolores, became the battle cry for Mexican independence

After the Grito de Dolores, Hidalgo formed a large army. He led the group toward Mexico City. However, the Spanish beat them. They arrested Hidalgo. But the war wasn’t over. It lasted another ten years. Finally, the Treaty of Córdoba made Mexico its own nation in 1821. Today, Mexico celebrates its independence each year on September 16.

What is a Mexican Independence Day celebration like? It starts on September 15. That night, the Mexican president rings the same bell Hidalgo rang. Then, they give a version of the Grito de Dolores, saying “Viva México! Viva la Independencia! Vivan los héroes!”

On September 16, people celebrate all over Mexico. There are fireworks, parades, and other festivities. People make traditional  Mexican dishes with their friends and families. They honor those who fought for freedom. The holiday is a celebration of Mexico’s people and their culture. Today, it’s been observed for nearly 200 years. And it all started with the Grito de Dolores!

Standards: C3.D2.His.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is all about heritage!