Last Update: Thursday, December 05, 2013
|Los Angeles Gets Ready to Celebrate Mexican Independence Day|
|Written by Alex Garcia|
|Thursday, 12 September 2013 05:49|
The city of Los Angeles annually celebrates Latino Heritage Month in September when it holds a number of events to celebrate the contributions of Mexico and Central American countries cultures to the city.
Without a doubt, the highlight of these events is the traditional "El Grito," which marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence and is celebrated the night of Sept. 15 each year.
The event, which this year features the presence of Mexican telenovela actress Mayrin Villanueva and Mexican singer David Zepeda, will take place starting at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15 on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall, located at 200 N. Spring St. The actual "El Grito" will take place at 8 p.m. The celebration is preceded by a Mexican Independence Weekend Festival at El Pueblo de Los Angeles (Olvera Street).
That event will run both Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will be filled with music, food and dancing, carnival rides and entertainment.
"El Grito" commemorates the call for independence exclaimed by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in the town of Dolores, Guanajuato, Mexico, which led to the war and eventual independence from Spain.
History tell us that on the evening of Sept. 15, just before midnight, Hidalgo y Costilla, a parish priest in the village of Dolores, gathered his congregation of native Mexicans and mestizos (offspring of Spanish and indigenous parents) to call for Mexican independence, and exile or arrest all Spaniards (gachupines) in Mexico who had oppressed and exploited the native populations for hundreds of years.
He ended his famous speech with a yell or "grito," "Mexicanos, Viva Mexico! ("Mexicans, long live Mexico!"). It was significant since the country, at that time was known as Nueva Espana (New Spain).
From Dolores, the revolutionaries traveled to Mexico City, gathering more and more supporters. Along the way they acquired a banner with the image of La Virgin de Guadalupe, which became a rallying point and the patron saint of Mexico. After a long and bloody struggle, Mexico's independence was obtained in 1821, 11 years after Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's fateful cry to action.
Since then, Mexico has celebrated the anniversary of "El Grito" in Mexican communities on the eve of the 16th of September. The President of the Republic of Mexico starts the ceremony by ringing the actual bell from the church in Dolores and repeating the words calling for independence, "Mexicanos, Viva Mexico!" and culminating the celebration with fireworks and civic celebrations.
Carlos Sada, Mexican consul general in Los Angeles, is in charge of leading this call in the city, along with city officials.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, observed during the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16.
The observance was expanded in 1989 by Congress to a month long celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), when the United States celebrates the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.
Today, celebrations and parades around those countries' independence fill cities and towns across the country, which now has 53 million Latinos, according o the latest U.S. Census figures. That population figure is expected to grow to 128.8 million by 2060, when Latinos would represent 31 percent of the U.S. population.
People of Mexican origin represent the largest share of the Latino population in the country (65 percent), followed by Puerto Ricans (9.4 percent) and Salvadorans (3.8 percent).
Los Angeles County has the largest Latino population of any county in the U.S. with 4.8 million people. The entire state of California has 14.5 million Latinos.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 12 September 2013 05:53|