It’s that time of year when the streets of Tijuana are filled with vendors selling Mexican flags. The flags range from postage-stamp-sized ones that you stick to your car windshield to banderas that are the size of a bedsheet. Most of the vendors are bused in from Mexico’s interior for these short-term flag gigs leading up to Mexico’s Independence Day on Sept. 16.
(News alert to some: Independence Day is NOT Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo is the day that Mexico shook off the French occupation)
As in most Mexican cities, the Sept 16 holiday is set off by the final “grito” or shout for Independence on the night of Sept. 15. Residents gather around City Hall for food and drinks and wait for the mayor to re-enact this historic call to arms originally made by Miguel Hidalgo in the state of Guanajuato. It usually takes place between 10 p.m. and midnight. Watch a YouTube video here from last year’s celebration in Mexico City.
The Tijuana border area, which is inextricably linked to the United States, poses a unique exploration of Mexican identity that once inspired me to write a story pegged to Independence Day and the flag vendors’ annual pilgrimage to this border city. You can read it here.