“Mexican Independence Day is a major celebration in Mexico and is bigger than Cinco de Mayo,” www.presidiolabahia.org states. “It is celebrated with a fiesta (party). The celebrating begins on Sept. 15 (the eve of Independence Day) where crowds of people gather in the zocalos (town meeting place) of cities, towns and villages. … There are rodeos, parades, bullfights, horseback rider performances and grand feasts.”
Here in northern Nevada, where a large percentage of the population is of Mexican descent, at least one fiesta is planned to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day. This evening, Silver Legacy and Café Sedona will be offering food and drink specials while Jose Torres and his seven-piece strolling mariachi band offer entertainment from 6 to 11 p.m.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, about one-quarter of the population of Washoe County is Hispanic or Latino. Mexicans account for 60 percent of the Latino population, said Edward Vento, executive director of Nevada Hispanic Services Inc.
“Last year was Mexico’s bicentennial,” Vento said, adding that Mexico’s Independence Day is not as highly celebrated in the U.S. as other Mexican holidays such as Cinco de Mayo. “It’s not as commercialized and doesn’t cross over as much as Cinco de Mayo.”
Vento said because many Americans do not observe Mexico’s Independence Day and the Hispanic population is comprised of people from a number of Latin American countries, Congress designated the end of September and beginning of October as National Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America,” the official National Hispanic Heritage Month website, hispanicheritagemonth.gov, states.
Vento said a Hispanic heritage celebration, El Grito, will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Miguel Ribera Park, located on Neil Road.
“There will be music food and vendors,” Vento said.
Observation of Hispanic Heritage Week began in 1968 under the direction of President Lyndon Johnson. According to hispanicheritagemonth.gov, President Ronald Reagan in 1988 expanded it to cover a 30-day period, beginning Sept. 15.
“The day of Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua,” the website states. “In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept.18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30-day period.”