Himno Nacional Mexicano

Himno Nacional Mexicano
English: Mexican National Anthem
Himno mexicanos text.jpg

National anthem of  Mexico
Also known as "Mexicanos, al grito de guerra" (English: "Mexicans, at the cry of war")
Lyrics Francisco Gonz谩lez Bocanegra, 1853
Music Jaime Nun贸, 1854
Adopted September 16, 1854
1943 (anthem)
Audio sample

The "Mexican National Anthem" (Spanish: Himno Nacional Mexicano), also known by its incipit "Mexicans, at the cry of war" (Spanish: Mexicanos, al grito de guerra), is the national anthem of Mexico. The anthem was first used in 1854. The lyrics of the national anthem, which allude to historical Mexican military victories in the heat of battle and including cries of defending the homeland, were composed by poet Francisco Gonz谩lez Bocanegra after a Federal contest in 1853. Later, in 1854, he asked Jaime Nun贸 to compose the music which now accompanies Gonz谩lez's poem. The national anthem, consisting of ten stanzas and a chorus, effectively entered into use on September 16, 1854.


Lyrics competition

On November 12, 1853, President Antonio L贸pez de Santa Anna announced a competition to write a national anthem for Mexico. The competition offered a prize for the best poetic composition representing patriotic ideals. Francisco Gonz谩lez Bocanegra, a talented poet, was not interested in participating in the competition. He argued that writing love poems involved very different skills from the ones required to write a national anthem. His fianc茅e, Guadalupe Gonz谩lez del Pino (or Pili), had undaunted faith in her fianc茅's poetic skills and was displeased with his constant refusal to participate in spite of her constant prodding and requests from their friends. Under false pretenses, she lured him to a secluded bedroom in her parents' house, locked him into the room, and refused to let him out until he produced an entry for the competition. Inside the room in which he was temporarily imprisoned were pictures depicting various events in Mexican history which helped to inspire his work. After four hours of fluent (albeit forced) inspiration, Francisco regained his freedom by slipping all ten verses of his creation under the door. After Francisco received approval from his fianc茅e and her father, he submitted the poem and won the competition by unanimous vote.[1] Gonz谩lez was announced the winner in the publication Official Journal of the Federation (DOF) on February 3, 1854.

Music competition

A musical composition was chosen at the same time as the lyrics. The winner was Juan Bottesini, but his entry was disliked due to aesthetics. This rejection caused a second national contest to find music for the lyrics.[2] At the end of the second contest, the music that was chosen for Gonz谩lez's lyrics was composed by Jaime Nun贸, the then Catalonian-born King of Spain's band leader. At the time of the second anthem competition, Nun贸 was the leader of several Mexican military bands. He had been invited to direct these bands by President Santa Anna, whom he had met in Cuba. About the time that Nun贸 first came to Mexico to start performing with the bands, Santa Anna was making his announcement about creating a national anthem for Mexico. Nun贸's anthem music composition was made like masterpieces of classical music, with a high quality in composition, and was chosen. Out of the few musical compositions submitted, Nun贸's music, titled "God and Freedom" (Dios y libertad), was chosen as the winner on August 12, 1854.[3] The song was officially adopted as the Mexican national anthem on Independence Day, September 16 of that same year. The inaugural performance was directed by Juan Bottesini, sung by soprano Claudia Florenti and tenor Lorenzo Salvi at the Santa Anna Theatre.[2][4]


Officially since 1943, the full national anthem consists of the chorus and 1st, 5th, 6th, and 10th stanzas (with the chorus interspersed between each stanza and performed again at the end). The modification of the lyrics was ordered by President Manuel 脕vila Camacho in a decree printed in the Diario Oficial de la Federaci贸n.[5] When the national anthem is played at sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup, an abridged form (chorus, stanza I, chorus) is used. An unofficial semi-abridged form (chorus, stanza I, chorus, stanza X, chorus) has gained some acceptance in television and radio programming.


Mexicanos, al grito de guerra
el acero aprestad y el brid贸n.
Y retiemble en sus centros la Tierra,
al sonoro rugir del ca帽贸n.
Y retiemble en sus centros la Tierra,
隆al sonoro rugir del ca帽贸n!

Chorus (English translation)[3]

Mexicans, at the cry of war,
assemble the steel and the bridle,
and the Earth trembles to its core
to the resounding roar of the cannon.
and the Earth trembles to its core
to the resounding roar of the cannon!

Chorus (poetic translation)[6]

At the loud cry of war all assemble,
Then your swords and your steeds all prepare,
and the Earth to its center shall tremble
when the cannon's deep roar rends the air.
and the Earth to its center shall tremble
when the cannon's deep roar rends the air!

Estrofa I

Ci帽a 隆oh Patria! tus sienes de oliva
de la paz el arc谩ngel divino,
que en el cielo tu eterno destino
por el dedo de Dios se escribi贸.
Mas si osare un extra帽o enemigo
profanar con su planta tu suelo,
piensa 隆oh Patria querida! que el cielo
un soldado en cada hijo te dio.

1st stanza

Encircle Oh Motherland!, your temples with olives
Peace, by the divine archangel,
for in heaven lies your eternal destiny
which was written by the finger of God.
If, however, a foreign enemy would dare
to profane Your ground with their sole,
think, Oh beloved Motherland!, that Heaven
has given a soldier in every son.

1st stanza

Oh my country entwine on thy temples
boughs of olive so fresh and so vernal,
when inscribed in the heavens eternal
blessed peace for all the land thou dost see.
But if stranger and foe in their boldness
dare to tread on thy soil, they must perish,
then, oh my country, this thought only cherish
every son is but a soldier for thee.

Coro Chorus

Estrofa V

隆Guerra, guerra! sin tregua al que intente
De la patria manchar los blasones!
隆Guerra, guerra! Los patrios pendones
En las olas de sangre empapad.
隆Guerra, guerra! En el monte, en el valle
Los ca帽ones horr铆sonos truenen,
Y los ecos sonoros resuenen
Con las voces de 隆Uni贸n! 隆Libertad!

Stanza V

War, war! with no mercy to any who shall dare
to tarnish the coats of arms of the Motherland!
War, war! The national banners
Shall be drenched in waves of blood.
War, war! On the mountain, in the valley,
The cannons thunder in horrid unison
and the sonorous echoes resound
with bellows of Union! Liberty!

Coro Chorus

Estrofa VI

Antes, patria, que inermes tus hijos
Bajo el yugo su cuello dobleguen,
Tus campi帽as con sangre se rieguen,
Sobre sangre se estampe su pie.
Y tus templos, palacios y torres
Se derrumben con h贸rrido estruendo,
Y sus ruinas existan diciendo:
De mil h茅roes la patria aqu铆 fue.

Stanza VI

O, Motherland, if however your children, defenseless
With their necks bent beneath the yoke,
May your fields be watered with blood,
May their footsteps be printed with blood.
And your temples, palaces and towers
Shall collapse with horrid clamor,
And your ruins continue on, whispering:
Of one thousand heroes, the Motherland once was.

Coro Chorus

Estrofa X

隆Patria! 隆Patria! Tus hijos te juran
Exhalar en tus aras su aliento,
Si el clar铆n con su b茅lico acento
los convoca a lidiar con valor.
隆Para ti las guirnaldas de oliva!
隆Un recuerdo para ellos de gloria!
隆Un laurel para ti de victoria!
隆Un sepulcro para ellos de honor!

Stanza X

Motherland! Motherland! Your children assure
to breathe until their last for your sake,
if the bugle with its bellicose accent
calls them together to battle with courage.
For you, the olive wreaths!
For them, a reminder of glory!
For you, a laurel of victory!
For them, a tomb of honor!

Copyright status

An urban legend about the copyright status of the anthem states that years after its first performance, family sold the musical rights to a German music publishing company named Wagner House. Originally, Nun贸 was supposed to have turned the music rights over to the state in exchange for a prize from the Mexican government. However, according to the myth, the copyright changed hands again, this time to Nun贸 himself and two Americans, Harry Henneman and Phil Hill.[7]

In reality, this is not correct. It is true that Nun贸, Henneman and Hill did register the music with the company BMI (BMI Work #568879), with the Edward B. Marks Music Company as the listed publisher of the anthem.[8] This might be the version that some have suggested is copyrighted in the United States.[9] However, United States copyright law declares the Mexican anthem to be in the public domain inside the United States, since both the lyrics and music were published before 1923.[10] Furthermore, under Mexican copyright law, Article 155 states that the government holds moral rights, but not property rights, to symbols of the state, such as the national anthem, coat of arms and the national flag.[11]

National regulations

In the second chapter of the Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem (Ley sobre el Escudo, la Bandera y el Himno Nacionales), the national anthem is described in very brief terms. While Articles 2 and 3 discuss in detail the coat of arms and the flag, respectively, Article 4 mentions only that the national anthem will be designated by law. Article 4 also mentions that a copy of the lyrics and the musical notation will be kept at two locations, the General National Archive and at the National Library, located in the National Museum of History (Biblioteca Nacional en el Museo Nacional de Historia).[12]

Chapter 5 of the Law goes into more detail about how to honor, respect and properly perform the national anthem. Article 38 states that the singing, playing, reproduction and circulation of the national anthem are regulated by law and that any interpretation of the anthem must be performed in a "respectful way and in a scope that allows [one] to observe the due solemnity" of the anthem. Article 39 prohibits the anthem from being altered in any fashion, prohibits it from being sung for commercial or promotional purposes, and also disallows the singing or playing of national anthems from other nations, unless you have permission from the Secretary of the Interior (Secretar铆a de Gobernaci贸n) and the diplomatic official from the nation in question. The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Public Education (Secretar铆a de Educaci贸n P煤blica), in Article 40, must grant permission for all reproductions of the national anthem to be produced, unless the anthem is being played during official ceremonies carried on radio or television. Article 41 states that the national anthem is required to be played at the sign-on or sign-off of radio and television programming; with the advent of 24-hour programming schedules in the 1990s and 2000s, many stations now do so at or as close to midnight and 6 a.m. local time as possible by interpretation of the former traditional times of sign-on and sign-off. The extra requirement for television programming is that photos of the Mexican flag must be displayed at the same time the anthem is playing.

Article 42 states that the anthem may only be used during the following occasions: solemn acts of official, civic, cultural, scholastic or sport character. The anthem can also be played to render honors to the Mexican flag and to the President of Mexico. If the national anthem is being used to honor the national flag or the President, the short version of the anthem is played. Article 43 says that special musical honors may be paid to the President and the flag, but no more than once during the same ceremony. Article 44 says that during solemn occasions, if a choir is singing the anthem, the military bands will keep silent. Article 45 says that those who are watching the national anthem performance must stand at attention (firmes) and remove any headgear. Article 46 states that the national anthem must be taught to children who are attending primary or secondary school; this article was amended in 2005 to add pre-school to the list. The article also states that each school in the National Education System (Sistema Educativo Nacional) will be asked to sing the national anthem each year. Article 47 states that in an official ceremony in which is need to play another anthem, the Mexican anthem will be played first, then the guest state's national anthem. Article 48 states that at embassies and consulates of Mexico, the national anthem is played at ceremonies of a solemn nature that involves the Mexican people. If the anthem is played outside of Mexico, Article 48 requires that the Secretary of External Relations (Secretar铆a de Relaciones Exteriores), through proper channels, must grant permission for the national anthem to be played and will also ensure that the anthem is not sung for commercial purposes.[12]

Cultural significance

Mexican fans sing the Mexican national anthem before a football match in March 2009.

At the time the Mexican national anthem was written, Mexico was still facing the effects of a bitter defeat in the Mexican鈥揂merican War at the hands of the United States. The country felt demoralized and also divided, due to the cession of more than half of its territory due to its defeat to the United States. According to historian Javier Garciadiego, who spoke at a 2004 ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of the national anthem's adoption, the song disregards divisions and strife and encourages national unity. On that same date, Mexico City and other parts of the country stopped what they were doing and performed a nationwide singing of the national anthem. Individuals from other countries also participated, mostly at diplomatic offices or at locations where a high concentration of Mexican expatriates are found. The national anthem has also been described as one of the symbols of the "Mexican identity".[9]

On the rare occasions when someone performs the national anthem incorrectly, the federal government has been known to impose penalties to maintain the "dignity" of the national symbols. One example is when a performer forgot some of the lyrics at a association football match in Guadalajara, she was fined $400 MXN by the Interior Ministry and released an apology letter to the country through the Interior Ministry.[13] Another infamous case is that of banda musician Julio Preciado, who performed the national anthem at the inauguration of the Caribbean Baseball Series in 2009; El Universal reported that "in a slow tone that has nothing to do with the rhythm of the National Anthem, the singer literally forgot the lyrics of the second stanza and mixed it with others",[14] this earned the fanfare of those who were present at the stadium (and those watching it live on TV), some of the people attending the inauguration started shouting the phrases "隆s谩quenlo!, 隆no se lo sabe! 隆fuera, fuera!" (Get him out! He doesn't know it! Out, out!).

In addition, the national anthem is sometimes used as a kind of shibboleth: a tool against people who might not be "true Mexicans" (a "fake Mexican" being a migrant from another Latin American country, who pretends that he or she is from Mexico. The suspected are asked to sing Mexico's national anthem and it is widely expected that only "true Mexicans" will know the lyrics and tune and thus will be able to sing it. In one case, a young man of Afro-Mexican descent was stopped by police and forced to sing the national anthem to prove his nationality.[15] In a separate incident in Japan, police officers asked four men to sing the Mexican national anthem after they were arrested in Tokyo on charges of breaking and entering. However, when the men could not sing the song, it was discovered that they were Colombians holding forged Mexican passports. They were later charged with more counts on theft of merchandise and money.[16]

Other languages

Though the de facto language of Mexico is Spanish, there are still people who only speak indigenous languages. On December 8, 2005, Article 39 of the national symbols law was adopted to allow for the translation of the lyrics into the native languages. The official translation is performed by the National Institute of Indigenous Languages (Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Ind铆genas).[17]

Officially, the national anthem has been translated into the following native languages: Chinanteco, H帽a H帽u, Mixteco, Maya, Nahuatl and Tenek. Other native groups have translated the anthem into their respective language, but it has not been sanctioned by the Government.[18]

Musical score


  1. ^ David Kendall National Anthems鈥擬exico
  2. ^ a b Embassy of Mexico in Serbia and Montenegro Mexican Symbols鈥擧imo. Retrieved March 19, 2006. Archived February 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "National Anthem for Kids". Archived from the original on April 29, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2006.
  4. ^ Secretary of External Relations History of the Mexican Anthem. Retrieved March 15, 2006. (in Spanish)
  5. ^ Administration of Ernesto Zedillo National Symbols of Mexico Archived 2006-04-25 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 15, 2006.
  6. ^ "Indianapolis News 15 September 1917 鈥 Hoosier State Chronicles: Indiana's Digital Historic Newspaper Program". newspapers.library.in.gov. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  7. ^ LA Weekly DON'T CRY FOR ME, MEXICO; Article about the copyright situation. September 22, 1999.
  8. ^ BMI Repretoire Himno Nacional Mexicano (BMI Work #568879). Retrieved March 16, 2006.
  9. ^ a b San Diego Union Tribune Mexicans celebrate 150 years of national anthem with worldwide sing-along Archived 2007-03-13 at the Wayback Machine September 15, 2004. Retrieved March 15, 2006.
  10. ^ US Copyright Office Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States. Retrieved March 16, 2006. Archived July 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Secretary of Education Mexican Copyright Law. Retrieved March 15, 2006 (in Spanish) Archived February 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b "Ley sobre el Escudo la Bandera y el Himno Nacionales" (PDF) (in Spanish). Government of Mexico. 2006-06-03. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 19, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
  13. ^ Associated Press "Woman fined for bungling Mexican anthem". Archived from the original on June 28, 2012. . October 2004. Retrieved March 20, 2006.
  14. ^ "Julio Preciado se equivoca al entonar el Himno Nacional (in Spanish)". El Universal. 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  15. ^ College Street Journal FP Antonieta Gimeno Attends Conference on Black Mexicans Archived 2009-04-29 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 20, 2006.
  16. ^ ABC News Online Japanese police catch Colombian thieves out. June 15, 2004. Retrieved March 20, 2006.
  17. ^ Diario Oficial de la Federaci贸nDecree allowing for translation of the anthem into native languages. December 7, 2005. Retrieved January 11, 2006.
  18. ^ Comisi贸n Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Ind铆genas Himno Nacional Mexicano en lenguas ind铆genas

External links