Lakeside Guide to Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico

Mexican Independence Day

At a Glance

Despite most people’s misunderstanding, Cinco de Mayo commemorates a Mexican victory over French forces in Puebla — not Mexico’s independence from Spain, which is celebrated on September 16.

More Info

Independence Day is one of Mexico’s biggest and most-proud-to-be-Mexican of holidays.

Celebrating the 1821 independence of Mexico from Spanish rule, Ajijic’s fiestas patrias can last for up to a week, encompassing the Regata de Globos the weekend before, plus events on days before and after the September 16 holiday.

El Grito

Be sure to visit the Ajijic plaza after 10 p.m. on September 15 for the recital of El Grito de Dolores by the town’s delegado (the closest thing to a mayor that the town has).

Mexican Independence Day

This recital occurs all over Mexico at the same time on Independence Day Eve: delegados, mayors and even the president reciting the famous battle cry that Hidalgo gave in 1810, which stirred the people into battle and eventually led to the independence of a nation.

2018 Independence Day Celebrations in Ajijic

The Independence Day celebrations in Ajijic last around a week, starting with the Regata de Globos the weekend before.

Here is the 2018 schedule:

Mexican Independence Day

September 16 Parade Route

The Independence Day parade starts at 10 a.m. on the street Constitución, near where the bottom of the weekly tianguis (market day) is held. It ends about an hour later at the plaza.

Last updated December 23, 2018

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Photos of Mexican Independence Day

The Independence Day celebrations in Ajijic start before the official holiday, often getting tied together into a week-long event starting with the regata de globos, the Day of the Charro and ending with the Independence Day celebrations on September 15 and 16. One of the events that usually take place during this period is the palo encebado.

The palo encebedo originated in Naples, Italy, as a pastime in the 16th century and is now part of the culture of many Latin American countries. A pole is raised and greased.

And then kids stand on each other to get to the top.

Once they are high enough, they grab the prizes that are hanging.

The prizes are household items such as a mop, liquid soaps, cereal, cooking oil, plasticware or paper towels.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Day of the Dead Skull Altar

Day of the Dead Skull Altar

A skull, white cross, candles, dyed sawdust, marigolds, Corona bottles and other offerings adorn an altar on the Night of the Dead in Chapala.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print

Another event that takes place during the town's fiestas patrias is the rebozo contest. The rebozo is a garment similar to a shawl that's synonymous with Mexican identity. It's still common in rural areas and this annual contest is a way of preserving the tradition. The 2018 contest takes place Sunday, September 9 at 6 p.m. in the plaza.

Mariachi Real Axixic plays traditional mariachi music in the town plaza.

Mariachi is one of Mexico's most popular and emblematic forms of music. It originated in Western Mexico, with some stories placing the birth of modern mariachi in Cocula, Jalisco.

Mario Farías competes during a singing competition in the plaza.

The town delegado, Chuni Medeles, waves the Mexican flag after reciting El Grito in the Ajijic plaza. The original Grito, or Cry of Dolores, was recited by Mexican priest Miguel Hidalgo on September 16, 1810, which initiated an 11-year war for independence from Spain. Today, the President of Mexico recites El Grito around 11 p.m. every September 15 in the zócalo plaza in Mexico City. The tradition is also observed in towns and cities across Mexico.

A girl dressed as an Adelita during the Revolution Day parade in San Antonio Tlayacapan, which always celebrates Revolution Day the Sunday after November 20 (which in 2018 is November 25). Their parade starts a few blocks west of the plaza in San Antonio at 9 a.m.

How the Women Soldaderas Helped Win the Mexican Revolution

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See this Photo Essay

A parade starts the next day at 10 a.m. on September 16 at Consitución and Revolución in Ajijic.

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Gaby Gucho was the queen of the Association of Charros in 2016.

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The parade has lots of charros, vaqueros, and escaramuzas, dressed in some of their finest, such as Daniel Medeles, leader of Mariachi Real Axixic.

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Townspeople watch the parade pass outside their house.

A sombrero leaves the face of an escaramuza in shadow as she passes in front of a green wall.

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A charro rides his horse during the Independence Day parade in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

A charro's boot.

Vaqueros ride during the parade.

On Independence Day in Ajijic, Regino rides with a little friend who wanted to change his name to Regino, Jr.

"Regino, Jr."

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Framed print of Aztec dancers during a procession in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

Aztec Dancers in a Religious Procession

Aztec dancers take part in the final day of the month-long October celebration for Our Lady of the Rosary in Ajijic, Mexico.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print

Two girls ride in the parade as a butterfly passes overhead.

An escaramuza. Escaramuzas ride side saddle on their horses.

A charro holds his little escaramuza tight while riding together in the parade.

A little charro yawns during the parade.

A dog belonging to one of the cowboys follows the parade down the street Constitución.

An altar for friends and family members, including a teenager, made by his grandmother, Beatriz.

Deciphering the Meaning Behind the Day of the Dead Altar

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See this Photo Essay

A charro rides during the Independence Day parade.

An escaramuza in a purple dress.

An escaramuza charra in a yellow dress.

People watch the parade go by their home, while one man snoozes, on Independence Day in Ajijic.

Juan Flores hold the Mexican flag and leads the Independence Day parade.

Juan Flores and Paola Higuera.

It's never too early in the morning to start drinking tequila, especially on the 16 de Septiembre.

A vaquero in front of a storefront during the parade.

Townspeople watch the parade go by.

A banda plays at the plaza after the parade has ended.

Accordion Player in Chapala

Traditional Mexican Music Genres

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See this Photo Essay

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Masked Zayacos of Ajijic

The Masked Zayacos of Ajijic, Mexico

Masked “zayacos” prowl the town bullring, a unique Carnival-time tradition in Ajijic, Mexico.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print

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