September is El Més de la Patria in Mexico, the month of the country, when Mexico celebrates its Independence from Spain on September 16th. And in true Mexican style, we celebrate the entire month. The streets are decked out in green, white and red, which are the national colors of Mexico, and street vendors sell flags, streamers, balloons and other things to celebrate the event.
Many of the restaurants in Puerto Vallarta and other cities throughout Mexico have special menus during the month of September that feature traditional dishes for this time of year.
One of the most famous dishes is the Chile en Nogada, or chile in a walnut sauce. This stuffed pobalano chile is usually served cold and is stuffed with a mixture of traditional mincemeat and covered in a white walnut sauce garnished with pomegranate seeds. The colors represent the Mexican flag and the dish was created precisely because September is the season for fresh pomegranates.
If you have a chance to try this delicious, if not unusual recipe, you will not be sorry! In Puerto Vallarta you can try the Chile en Nogada in September at Kaiser Maximilian restaurant and year-round at El Arrayan and The Red Cabbage.
Although the holiday is the 16th of September the festivities actually begin a couple of days before. On the 13th of September, Mexico remembers the fallen young soldiers who died in the Battle of Chapultepec in 1847 in Mexico’s war with the United States. El Dia de los Niños Heroes celebrates the six slain cadets that fought so bravely for their country.
The 14th of September is known as El Dia del Charro, or Day of the Cowboy. There is a grand parade through downtown with traditional costumes worn by women and horsemen and their regal horses. The 15th of September is Noche del Grito, or Night of the Yell. At 11 p.m. all over Mexico, people gather in the principal plazas of their towns and the mayor, together with the President of Mexico from the National Palace in Mexico City, gives the “Grito” (literally the yell or shout) of independence, commemorating the Grito de Dolores where Father Dolores Hidalgo launched the War for Independence on the night of September 15, 1810.
If you have never been in Mexico for Noche de Grito, you have no idea what you have been missing. The feeling of unity, patriotism and joy is exhilarating – imagine an entire country yelling “Viva Mexico” at the same time. After the Grito there is usually an all-night party in the streets with fireworks and music. The next day is a holiday so unless you are a huge fan of parades, it is a great day to relax with your family or go to the beach.