It may be a typical Monday for many in Southern California but for millions there and across the U.S. families are preparing to celebrate fiestas patrias, the season of Independence Day celebrations for Latin American countries that begins tonight with the "Grito," or The Yell, of Mexican Independence. The ritual marks the beginning of the long war that Mexicans waged against Spanish rule beginning on 16 September, 1810.
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Here in Mexico, it's Monday and the streets of the Centro Historico are already packed with people and vendors selling every imaginable kind of item with the tricolor of the Mexican national flag. On Sunday night at the sparkling Zocalo it was almost as if the hour of the "Grito" had already arrived. The plaza and the surrounding cantinas were alight with all the glorious desmadre of Mexican partying, in the form of drumming and party foam and street food-eating and firework-popping and cartoony Zapata mustaches.
The country like the world at large may in a state of social decay, but bad times have never been a hindrance to the high ritual of the fiesta in Mexico. And on the actual holiday, Tuesday, the citizenry comes together to face a national hangover, felt, painfully yet bravely, across the Republic and beyond.