Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off Sept. 15 with a celebration at the Dallas Farmers Market downtown. The event featured activities and attractions ranging from dancers and a mariachi band to food and music, all in celebration of Mexican Independence Day.
“This event is significant of the time when Mexico fought for their independence from Spain and became its own country,” said Brenda Chavez, who attended the festival. “It [Mexico’s Independence Day] begins when they do the chant.”
Telemundo 39 news anchor Norma García, said, “Today marks the 209th anniversary of Mexico’s Independence from Spain. Two-hundred-and-nine-years ago, Mexico launched the Independence War,” García said.
The famous chant, “Viva Mexico” is synonymous with Mexican Independence Day celebrations. It holds historical significance and is now part of a yearly ritual performed by Mexicans all over the world the night before their Independence Day.
“There is something called the chant in Mexico. There was a priest, Miguel Hidalgo in Central Mexico, and he had been plotting how to revolt against the crown. He had gathered people and had done a lot of grassroots work,” said García.
“On the 15th [of September] at night, he grabbed the troops, he gathered them, and he said, ‘Viva Mexico, Viva la Independence la Mexico’ which means long live our independence. Then he chanted three times, ‘Viva Mexico, Viva Mexico, Viva,’ long live Mexico,” García said. The battle cry is chanted every year on Mexican Independence Day.
The festival at the Farmers Market featured many activities. There were different types of food, dance performances and live music. A bar was available for those who were of drinking age. The market vendors sold fresh fruits and vegetables for those who wanted to shop for produce.
“My favorite thing about the festival is the fact that people get to enjoy themselves and bask in the culture whether or not they’re from there and they also learn about the Farmers Market,” said Nathaly Benavides, a vendor with Folklore & Tradition, where authentic Mexican souvenirs and clothes are sold.
“A lot of people who came into my booth asked if I came for just the festival. I told them that I’m here every weekend and they didn’t know that the market even existed,” she said.
There was a diverse crowd attending the event and all seemed to enjoy the food and entertainment.
“One thing I felt like people who were not of Latino descent could learn from this festival is that is the fact that we all come together whether or not you’re Mexican, as long as you’re of Latino descent. We’re diverse but we embrace our diversity and show each other love because we’re all one,” Benavides said.
Chavez felt like people who were not Latino could learn about the culture by attending the festival, watching the dancers, enjoying the different foods and listening to the music.