Feature Photo: siddharta Photo : ivanx

Mexicans are getting hyped for the biggest national holiday of the year.

It’s the eve of Mexican independence day.

Almost exactly 200 years ago on the 16th of September 1810, priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave the famous “grito de dolores” or, as it’s commonly referred to “el grito.” Priest Hidalgo gathered his congregation at his church in Dolores, a small pueblo in Guanajuato, and proceeded to give the sermon credited with kicking off Mexico’s 10-year war for independence.

The sermon culminated with cries of “Death to the illegitimate government! Long live the the glorious pueblo Méxicano!” followed by the emphatic ringing of the church bell.

This grito is replicated each year on the evening of September 15th, in the Zócalo of Mexico City and in plazas, cities, and pueblos around the country. The president and other public figures initiate it with three or more shouts of “Viva México!” followed by a “Viva!” for every Mexican state and for Mexican revolutionary figures. Massive fireworks are set off and the pueblo Méxicano goes nuts in shades of red, white, and green.

In honor of el grito, I give you “Mexico Lindo y Querido,” sung by Mexican singer and actor Javier Solis (1933-1966).

Any mariachi in Mexico will be able to sing this for you. I most recently heard it on a road trip in Ohio, when Jorge gained control of the Ipod and used it to shout, weepy and unabashed, “México lindo y querrrrrido!” out onto the open road.

If you want to follow along, find the lyrics below:

Voz de la guitarra mía,
al despertar la mañana
quiere cantar la alegría
de mi tierra mexicana

Yo le canto a sus volcanes
a sus praderas y flores
que son como talismanes
del amor de mis amores

México Lindo y Querido
si muero lejos de ti
que digan que estoy dormido
y que me traigan aquí

Que digan que estoy dormido
y que me traigan aquí
México Lindo y Querido
si muero lejos de ti

Que me entierren en la sierra
al pie de los magueyales
y que me cubra esta tierra
que es cuna de hombres cabales

Voz de la guitarra mía,
al despertar la mañana
quiere cantar la alegría
de mi tierra mexicana

México Lindo y Querido
si muero lejos de ti
que digan que estoy dormido
y que me traigan aquí

Que digan que estoy dormido
y que me traigan aquí
México Lindo y Querido
si muero lejos de ti

Viva México!