Friday, September 14, 2012

Guadalajara's Top 20, Number 11: Palacio de Gobierno (and the Grito!)

El Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores), also known as El Grito de la Independencia (The Cry of Independence) was called out from the town of Dolores, Guanajuato on September 16, 1810. The grito, shouted by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, in the company of Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, sparked the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence. The anniversary of this call to arms is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day and a grito is shouted from the balcony of most government houses in Mexico. The exact wording of the original grito is unknown, so variation exists. This is the version most often said by Mexico's President, though local leaders can adapt it to suit their individual needs:

¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron patria!
¡Víva Hidalgo!
¡Viva Morelos!
¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez!
¡Viva Allende!
¡Vivan Aldama y Matamoros!
¡Viva la independencia nacional!
¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!

Guadalajara's Baroque-style Palacio de Gobierno is but one place that will host a grito at midnight tomorrow evening, and it's a grand event. TJ received two invitations to the governor's dinner last year. Had we attended, we would have dined with Jalisco's policy makers and had front row seats to the grito. Alas, it was not to be; our friend Patrick had come to visit from Houston, and our friend Antonio from Tepatitlán. 2+2=4, and we were two tickets short. Suddenly, I understood how my dad had felt that time that the Beach Boys asked to use his 1957 Chevy Sedan Delivery in one of their concerts, but he had to decline on account of one of my sleepovers. Oops.

Instead, we opted for a party at our friend Pablo's apartment, followed by a grito at a town square of his choosing. As is often the case with parties, we ended up staying there and missing the grito. This year, things are still up in the air. Patrick and Antonio are at home. Pablo moved to Chile. Somebody else claimed the governor's invites. I hear that the palace grito can be a bit crazy if you're on the outside looking in. Whatever happens, I'll keep you posted.

Back on topic, construction of Guadalajara's Government Palace began in the 1600s on a plot of land once owned by the children of architect Martín Casilla, builder of the Guadalajara Cathedral. The original structure was destroyed by an earthquake in 1750, with reconstruction being finished in 1790. It was here that Father Hidalgo decreed the abolition of slavery in November of 1810 and ordered that lands be given over to indigenous tribes on December 5th of that same year. Busy couple of months there, right?

During the Reform War, President Benito Juarez used Guadalajara as the official seat of Mexican Government. He escaped assassination at the hands of rebelling guardsmen on March 14, 1858 when Minister of Finance Guillermo Prieto prevented the murder by shouting "The brave do not assassinate." The palace is home to some of José Clemente Orozco's most famous works, but, as I stated here, the Orozco murals have their own slot on the Top 20 list, so that will have to wait until another day. Here is a glimpse of one of his murals, located in the State Congress Chamber.

The building is a fully functioning state government office, so visitors should not expect much of a museum vibe. Beyond the Orozco murals and the odd decorative plaque, there are little office spaces tucked away that look just like any office you've ever worked in.

Except for one tiny, hidden room on the first floor all the way in the back. Real blink-and-you-miss-it stuff. For some reason (though probably not all that hard to guess), there is a tequila shrine hidden amongst the administrative workspaces.

On second thought, this is exactly like my office.

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE: I guess it's worth mentioning that we missed the grito again this year...this time on account of heavy rains. Perhaps a second tour in Mexico will be needed to rectify this grievous omission.