What do chiles, walnuts, pomegranates and Mexican Independence Day have in common? Read on to find out…
Mexican Independence Day – 16th September
Día de la independencia is one of Mexico’s most important national holidays. It marks the country’s independence from Spain in 1821 following a decade-long war.
Contrary to the common misconception that Cinco de Mayo (5th May) is Mexico’s Independence Day, celebrations begin at night on 15th September each year, the eve of Mexico’s Independence Day. At 11pm, Mexicans across the country commemorate what is known in Spanish as “El Grito” [The Call]. Festivities can go on well into the night accompanied by firework displays and music. 16th September is a statutory holiday.
El Grito reenacts the call to action of national hero, Father Miguel Hidalgo. The history books tell us that he rang the bell of his church on 16th September 1810 in the early hours of the morning urging his townspeople to take up arms against Spanish hegemony. He was joined by Doña Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez and Ignacio Allende. At that time, Spain had ruled the country for more than 300 years. And thus began a 10-year war for independence.
Each year, municipal town plazas and the main Zocalo in Mexico City set the scene for a reenactment of this famous call for freedom. Thousands of people gather to watch the Mexican President ring the original bell that Hidalgo once rang or witness their local mayor address the crowds. As the names of the national heroes are pronounced one by one, the waiting crowds repeat the names in unison. The ritual is brought to a climax with the famous words “¡Viva Mexico! followed by huge firework displays.
Month-long National Pride
September 16th might be the official Mexican Independence Day, but in true Mexican style, why celebrate just one day when you can celebrate for the whole month? Henceforth, September is dedicated as the Mes de la Patria (Month of the Homeland). It is an exciting time to visit Mexico. Local communities decorate the streets in the colours of Mexico’s flag: red, green and white. Patriotic trinkets, sombreros and flags of all sizes are displayed and sold at almost every turn. During the main celebrations, you will see many people dressed in traditional costumes and mariachi musicians playing in the plazas.
Chiles en Nogada
So, now we come to the burning question of what chiles, walnuts and pomegranates have in common with Mexican Independence Day.
Chiles en Nogada (opting for the Spanish spelling for chili here) is a Mexican dish that is traditionally served during September. It is considered a patriotic dish because its colours are said to reflect the Mexican flag.
The main ingredients are poblano chiles stuffed with ground beef bathed in a walnut sauce (nogada) and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. Yummy!
Stay in any of the homes offered by Tripwix during the month of September and we can recommend the best restaurants to try Chiles en Nogada. Likewise, we can organise a private chef to prepare the dish for you any time of the year or even lead a cooking class.
Click here for the recipe.