El PASO — The aroma of churros filled the air at San Jacinto Plaza along with the mariachis blasting away at their tunes and then el grito, “Mexicanos, viva Mexico!” rang out.
Hundreds of El Paso citizens gathered at the downtown plaza, September 15, for “Viva Mexico!” the 199th Anniversary to celebrate the anniversary of independence of Mexico from Spain in 1810.
“Just being here reminds me of how far we’ve come since that day and the struggle they must’ve gone through for us, it makes me extremely humble yet full of pride,” said Alejandra Acosta, an El Paso resident who attended the celebration.
Mexican Independence Day celebrates the events leading up to the day in which after centuries of oppression, Mexico or New Spain as it was then called, won its freedom from Spain. The revolution was sparked by Miguel Hidalgo, a well-respected Catholic priest from the village of Dolores, who made the first call to arms.
Shortly before midnight on September 15, Hidalgo ordered the arrest of Dolores’ native Spaniards and then rang the church bells, as custom, to begin mass. It was there that he uttered the famous “Grito de Dolores,” the cry of Dolores, shouting “Mexicanos, Viva Mexico!”
That famous Grito de Dolores is re-enacted just before midnight every year on September 15 worldwide, and those that went to San Jacinto plaza heard those famous words as well, sending waves of patriotism throughout the crowds.
During the days’ event, vendors proudly displayed their hand-made artifacts while others enticed the crowds with their homemade Mexican food, as the sounds of Jose Luis Garcia, “El Charro Cantor” and others had the crowds moving.
“We’re having a great time, food’s good, company’s good… can’t complain,” Acosta said.
While many locals came to rejoice in their mother country’s day of independence with family and friends, others had different reasons.
“I’m just really excited to be able to bring my children out here so they can learn a bit about our history —one that I’m proud of,” said Valerie Cambron, from Anthony, N.M. “My ultimate goal is that I can give them something of value that they can pass on to their own children so they always remember.”