By Tony Parra
Screams of freedom and fireworks will highlight the Mexican Independence Day celebration on Thursday by the fountain in the middle of the Eastern New Mexico University campus.
The Mexican Independence Day celebration kicks off Hispanic Heritage month, which runs from Wednesday to Oct. 15.
Nancy Varelas, who works at the office of Hispanic Affairs for ENMU, said the reason for Hispanic Heritage Days being from Wednesday to Oct. 15 is because many Hispanic countries celebrate their independence days within the timeframe. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrate their independence on Wednesday.
The Mexican Independence Day celebration will begin with displays in the Campus Union Ballroom of ENMU from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The displays will have arts and crafts from Mexican states, according to Varelas. She said there will be information about all of the 32 states in the displays and through video footage.
Varelas said she received artwork and information from offices in Mexico and people from the community, who are from different Mexican states.
There will be a program in the Dallan Sanders patio. Benito Valdez Vega, Consul of Mexico who lives in Albuquerque, will speak to the participants about the Independence Day and what it means to people of Mexican heritage.
“It’s an honor to have him speak at our celebration,” Varelas said. “It’s tough to get a consul because there are only two consuls in Albuquerque and one usually stays in Albuquerque for their celebrations. We sent him a letter, inviting him. It’s usually who contacts them first.”
Portales High School students will be involved in the celebration by dancing to a song called ‘Somos’ from the Mexican state of Jalisco.
Varelas said she and Noemi Perez have been helping Portales High school students with the Mexican traditional dances. Laura Castillo, Portales High sophomore, is the president of the folklorico ballet group and will be dancing. She said the dresses have different colors besides red, green and white (the Mexican flag colors).
“It’s celebrated differently here than it is in Mexico,” Castillo said. She said her and her family celebrated the Mexican Independence Day in Rosales, Chihuahua. Rosales is a town located 321 miles south of Ciudad Juarez. “In Mexico the celebration begins in the morning on Sept. 15 and goes through midnight. There is no school and there are parades.”
Third-graders from La Casita Elementary School in Clovis will also have a children’s ballet folklorico. Varelas said approximately 12 ENMU students will perform a ballet folklorico, also.
“A lot of people celebrate it now,” Antonia Salaz, a Portales High School Spanish instructor, said about the Portales community. “The Hispanic population continues to grow. Companies and stores have learned to cater to Hispanics. Grocery stores offer products and advertise products for Hispanics. A lot of people have come from Mexico to live here.”
ENMU student Lucero Davalos Tirado will sing Spanish Christian Music and cumbias with the help of her parents. Vega will sing the Mexican National Anthem and follow up by re-enacting ‘El Grito de Dolores’ (The Battle-cry of Dolores). Don Miguel Hidalgo gave his battle-cry a little before midnight on Sept. 15 and extended into Sept. 16, 1810 in a town called Dolores, signaling the beginning of Mexico’s revolution against Spain for it’s independence.
Varelas said there will be free drinks and biscochitos (cookies) during the program and fireworks will cap off the program. There will also be a dance in the CUB ballroom.