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El Grito!

6 October 2006

This last month we all heard and thrilled at the “Grito”. The celebratory Presidential proclamation made on the 16th of September, Independence Day. This series of Viva Mexico! that stirs the souls and hearts of the thousands packed into the Zocalo. But here I would like to pay homage to that more humble grito. This grito is not political nor is it making a nationalistic statement for the TV cameras. It’s the Grito of the individual’s depth of joy, that primal scream that rises from the child within all of us. Although unfortunately many people have stifled that child and when that happens the Grito dissolves into a whimpering murmur accompanied by a sheepish grin and, maybe, even embarrassment.
This grito accompanies the guitar and the trumpet at the wedding dance, aaaayyiiii! It bursts out from the dance floor at the Saturday night pachanga, AAaaYYiiii! It erupts when your team scores the winning goal, AAAHUAAYYYIIII! This grito is as humble as the family barbeque and the corner cantina, AAaaayYYyiiiII! It announces the ecstasy and the exaltation of that moment of sheer delight. It’s the scream that says we’re alive and loving it. This is not the primal scream of fear and pain, but the sound of indulgence with mirth and pleasure.
The exhilaration generated by el grito spreads throughout the crowd, the cantina, the dance hall, the arena; it burrows into the souls of all present. It does not discriminate: young and old, man and woman, some rich and many poor. It says good-by to hard days and promises tomorrows lottery wins; it pledges your woman a good night and tells your competition to step down.

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