Portales celebrates Hispanic heritage

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Although Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on Sept. 16, it was in the waning moments of Sept. 15 when the wheels were in motion to break free from Spain’s rule.

Every year at midnight on September 15, Mexicans shout the grito (yell), honoring the crucial, impulsive action that was the catalyst for the country’s bloody struggle for independence from Spain, according to Mex Online Web site (www.mexonline.com).

In fact, in Mexico the people begin celebrating at midnight on Sept. 15 all through the night and into Sept. 16.

“I know in the big cities in Mexico they celebrate it all day,” Victor Hugo Martinez said of his birth country. Martinez said his wife was born in the United States and Martinez said as parents they want to preach to their two young daughters the importance of the American and Mexican cultures. Martinez said the young girls already know how to speak Spanish.

“I teach to them to never be scared of Mexico and the culture and to continue the tradition,” Martinez said.

Irma Calvio of Portales brought her four-year-old daughter, Alexis, to the celebration. Alexis was able to slug the piñata more than five times with a baseball bat during the celebration. Calvio brought Alexis so that she continues with the knowledge of the culture.

“I want to make sure the culture is not lost in her,” Irma said. “It’s important for me and my daughter for her to know the heritage.”

Calvio was born in Juarez, Mexico and came to the United States when she was 2 years old. Calvio said she has noticed the Mexican heritage is celebrated more in Portales than in places she has lived in West Texas.

Martinez said he has been living in the United States for a long time and is currently living in Clovis. Martinez said the hardest part about being away from Mexico is being away from his grandparents. He said he hasn’t seen his grandmother for more than 15 years.

“Listening to the music and watching the green and red fireworks gives me great pride,” Martinez said.

On the campus of Eastern New Mexico University, the celebrations in Portales began Thursday evening with ballet folklorico dancing and green, white and red fireworks celebrating the colors of the Mexican flag. Children took their turns beating a piñata for the candy goodies inside.

“The celebration was marvelous,” Lucia Silva of Portales said. “The celebration gave me a lot of pride. Independence Day Celebration signifies what it means to be a Mexican. It’s celebrated in New Mexico by people born in New Mexico because it used to be part of Mexico.”