The Mexican Independence Day celebrates the day Miguel Hidalgo is believed to have made the cry of independence in the town of Dolores against the Spanish colonizers, in the north-central part of the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Hidalgo was one of the nation’s leaders during the War of Independence in Mexico, and his heroic deeds are widely celebrated in the country as a permanent tradition. Over economic prosperity and global recognition, Hidalgo and many other independence advocates of that time conveyed a message far more powerful to the country’s citizens: the irreplaceable value of a country to identify oneself with. These war heroes granted countless generations of Mexicans the surge of national pride and honor that had been lost for decades of repression and ostracism from the global community.
Typically, Mexicans celebrate their country’s Independence Day with fireworks, parties (fiestas), food, dance and music on September 15. Flags, flowers and decorations in the colors of the Mexican flag – red, white and green – are seen in public areas in cities and towns in Mexico. Whistles and horns are blown and confetti is thrown to celebrate this joyful occasion. “Viva Mexico” or “Viva la independencia” are shouted amidst the crowds on this day.
In resemblance to this festive Mexican culture and in memorial of the day that many jubilated, on the 15th of September, the Mexican-American community of San Diego, CA opened its annual Mexican Independence Day celebration in the Old Globe Theatre from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. As part of the Globe’s free monthly AXIS performing arts series, once a month the Old Globe welcomes everybody on the Globe’s Copley Plaza in Balboa Park to enjoy a free performance of dance, spoken word, music, and theatre. In this specific occasion, the theater staff has hosted the Mexican Independence Day Celebration featuring Mariachi Las Colibrí with a free mariachi concert, traditional dances, and other audience engaging activities to epitomize the delight that the independence truly strives to bring.
Present in the celebration were the Mariachi Las Colibrí spreading their passion for music and the Mexican culture. These performers are known to be one of the most unique ensembles of its genre by returning to the all-string instrumentation of the early 20th-century mariachi tradition and the colorful, feminine costumes of the Mexican cinematic divas of the 40s and 50s. After years of achieving much success individually as instrumentalists and vocalists in various professional arenas, these women have come together with their lovely blend of vocal harmonies, unique arrangements, and interpretation of traditional sones, huapangos, and rancheras with a contemporary twist.
The atmosphere of radiant positivity was created by the wondrous presentation of joy from the brilliant colors of dancers, the harmonious chorus of the singers, and from the involved audience. The memorable songs glorifying the heroism of many independence champions and passionate performances conveyed awe and patriotism to the audience.
Giovanna Castillo, a senior at Bonita Vista High School who was an audience member in the performance remarked: “I’ve seen nothing like this. The performance was amazing from the dances, outfit, all to the singing as well. I am happy that I have had the opportunity to experience this vibrant and entertaining tradition of Mexico in my local community. I would definitely recommend others to attend this performance next year. I really enjoyed myself.”
In addition, Eros Maldonado, a 26-year-old visitor from Carlsbad, CA, in an interview with JSR, expressed: “Being a Mexican-American myself, I was proud of the wonderful performance that was held today. I really enjoyed it and all performers really exceeded my expectations. I think today was a great opportunity for me to experience true Mexican culture that was oftentimes absent in my everyday life here in the U.S.”.
The Mexican Independence Day Celebration in the Old Globe Theatre is only one of the many festive events that happened on the 15th of September to commemorate and celebrate the brilliance and courage of the independence activists of Mexico. This day is one of the few but essential moments for the people of Mexican heritage to truly unite and voice out commonality and national pride. The celebratory traditions is one to be long-lived and the future is bright for Mexican and Mexican-Americans.
Jiteak Kim, Grade 12
Bonita Vista High School