On the night of September 15, 1810, Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and some of his fellow leaders of the Independence movement, warned by messengers from Querétaro that their intention to raise a rebellion against Spanish rule had been discovered, decided to bring their plans forward. At dawn on September 16, Hidalgo, tolling the church bell, called his parishioners together and addressed them from the balcony of the church with an impassioned speech ending in the Grito de la Independencia, “¡Mexicanos, Viva México!” This cry is now repeated every year by the president in Mexico City and by politicians all over the country at midnight on September 15, as the starting point for Independence Day celebrations. September 16 remains the one day of the year when the bell in Dolores Hidalgo’s parish church is rung; however, the bell in place today is a copy of the original, which was either melted down for munitions or hangs in the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City, depending on which story you believe.

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