How to Celebrate Sept. 16, Mexican Independence Day

Popular celebrations across the United States

Angel of Independence

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Every year on September 16th is Mexican Independence Day, a holiday that is celebrated not just in Mexico, but also in cities across the United States. If you are visiting the Southwest during the month, you may have the chance to participate in some of the biggest festivities due to the large Latino populations in those locations.

No matter the locale, the Independence Day events are full of music, food, and revelry. 

The History

In 1810 on Sept. 16, Father Miguel Hidalgo sounded "El Grito," or "The Cry of Independence" in Dolores, in the State of Guanajuato. "El Grito" called for independence and sovereignty for Mexico. Hidalgo inspired the people of Mexico with a fiery cry: "Long live religion! Long live our Lady of Guadalupe! Long live the Americas and death to the corrupt government!" At the same time as Hidalgo gave his call to action, other revolutions broke out in all of Latin America.

The 16th of September is the biggest holiday in Mexico and the Latino community celebrates the anniversary of this heroic cry for freedom with fiestas, decorations and a remembrance of the importance of freedom.

Cinco De Mayo

Many Americans mistakenly believe that Mexican Independence Day is on May 5th, most commonly known as Cinco De Mayo. This date is actually the commemoration of Mexico's vanquishing of the French during the Battle of Puebla, but in the United State has culturally become a day to celebrate the culture of Mexico.

Top Mexican Independence Day Events

You can find Mexican Independence Day celebrations throughout the Southwest.

Mesilla, New Mexico

This town celebrates Diez y Seis de Septiembre Parade & Fiesta, as well as Mariachi Sundays in September. The event features folklorico dances, mariachi music, and authentic Mexican cuisine at the Old Mesilla Plaza.

El Paso, Texas

Sept. 16 festivities are big in El Paso. The celebration starts with a commemorative shout, which kicks off entertainment, such as mariachi music and folk dancing, as well as children's games, art, and food. 

Houston, Texas

One of Houston's biggest events of the year is the Fiestas Patrias celebration, in honor of Mexico's independence from Spain. You can see dancers take to the streets to live music, as the whole city seems to come to life in remembrance.


Fiestas Patrias attracts thousands of people to make it Arizona's largest Mexican Independence Day celebration. The event is free and includes food, music and carnival rides, live music, and usually a colorful parade of costumed participants.

Sedona, Arizona

The Fiesta Del Tlaquepaque has been celebrating Mexican Independence Day with music, art, and flamenco for over 45 years. Freshly made Mexican delicacies like tamales and tacos will be on sale by vendors.
Of course, there are also many celebrations in Mexico. Read more about celebrating the 16 de Septiembre in Mexico here: Mexican Independence Day, including classic eats, the national symbols, and local traditions.

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