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16 de septiembre festivity to celebrate Mexican history and culture

Andres Martinez
A 16 de septiembre celebration will take place in the Union Plaza on Sept. 15 beginning at 11:30 a.m.

September 16, 1810 marks Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spain, that would lead to a 11 year war against the Spanish. Two centuries later, their independence is still celebrated on the borderland.

The Office of Student Life will be hosting a 16 de septiembre celebration in the Union Plaza on Sept. 15 beginning at 11:30 a.m. The celebration will include food and live music to commemorate Mexico’s day of independence.

“The event will feature as a special guest Mexico´s General Consul Jacob Prado,” said Arturo Barrio, executive director of  the Office of International Programs. “There will also be performances from Ballet Folklorico Quetzales and mariachis, and the general consul will reenact the cry of freedom that was given by Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, which initiated the independence movement in 1811.”

In addition to the celebration, the department will be offering tickets for a special luncheon during the event.

“We will have a lunch to continue the celebration in the UTEP Union Plaza immediately after the ceremony, and students, faculty and staff are invited,” Barrio said. “Plates will be sold for $8.”

The event has been celebrated at UTEP for many years. This year, The Office of Student Life will be closely collaborating with Student Government Association, the Mexican Consulate in El Paso, the student organization Vision Mexico, faculty and staff from the language and linguistics department and the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies.

Barrio said he hopes students will get a lot out of the event.

“We really hope that the students get an opportunity to learn about Mexico’s history and traditions and we encourage our students to participate and to get to know more about the Mexican culture,” Barrio said. “Our strategic location at the US-Mexico border provides a unique opportunity for our students to live a binational experience.”

Sergio Baltazar, president of Vision Mexico, which supports the Mexican student population at UTEP, said the event is important for the organization because it profiles the importance of celebrating the Mexican culture.

“Celebrating the day of independence as a largely Mexican community is important because it is part of our identity,” Baltazar said. “It’s important to continue with the traditions and values that come with being Mexican as our community continues to grow.”

Baltazar said the entertainment for the event, which will  include  mariachi’s and  folklorico dancers, is designed to showcase the Mexican culture.

“Mariachi music and folklorico dancers are the most important forms of entertainment and art in the Mexican culture,” Baltazar said. “It’s traditional when it comes to Mexican celebrations.”

Mexico proclaimed their independence from Spain with of the Grito de Dolores, or cry of Dolores, the “pronunciamiento” of the end of the war. Although Mexico did not gain their independence from Spain until Sept. 27, 1821, 16 de septiembre is celebrated as their independence day.

“This year we celebrate the 205th anniversary of Mexico’s Independence from Spain,” Barrio said. “This was the foundation of modern Mexico, and this event constitutes Mexico’s most important civic festivity.”

Overall, Barrio hopes students are inspired by this event to learn more about  Mexico’s  traditions   and  cultures.

“We hope that with this event our students become familiar with the Mexican independence traditions,” Barrio said. “With programs like this, our goal is to always educate our students, create awareness and continue to foster the relationships we have around the world and, more specifically, with countries like Mexico.”

April Delaney, junior art education major, said  although her  family doesn’t do much to celebrate it, her mom does a little something for it every year.

“My mom’s from Mexico, so she acknowledges it every year,” Delaney said.

Ivonne Espinosa, junior nursing major, said she plans on celebrating 16 de septiembre by going to an art festival in Ciudad Juárez.

“I’m going to Arte  en el Parque, which is a fair that has art and music and shows  different  aspects of the Mexican Culture,” Espinosa said. “There are parades celebrating it as well.”

For more information about the event, call 747-5648.

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]

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16 de septiembre festivity to celebrate Mexican history and culture