By Pablo Jaime Sainz
Mexican Independence Day is the most important holiday in Mexico’s civic calendar, and as such, should be celebrated with pride by all people of Mexican descent, according to Luis Cabrera, consul general of the Consulate of Mexico in San Diego.
“It is the commemoration of Mexico’s decision to become an independent and sovereign nation,” Cabrera said.
On September 15, the Consulate of Mexico in San Diego will celebrate the 195th Anniversary of the onset of Mexico’s independence, with a commemorative ceremony to be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Embarcadero Marina Park South (behind the Convention Center).
Cabrera said he will preside over the ceremony and will deliver the traditional speech.
“In Mexico and abroad, we must celebrate this important date because it marks the beginning of modern Mexico,” he said. “I have the honor of giving the “grito” [or declaration] of Independence.”
This is the second year in a row that the Mexican Consulate celebrates Mexican Independence Day, which takes place officially on September 16, he added.
A banda de guerra from Tijuana will perform the Mexican national anthem and there will be an array of music performances, including the popular norteño band Los Autenticos Cadetes de Linares, Cabrera said.
About 6,000 people are expected to attend the festival which will include ballet folklorico acts, food and drink vendors, and mariachi music.
“Any Mexican national who would like to join us is welcome,” Cabrera said.
The Consul General said that the Mexican Consulate cancelled the Mexican Independence Day celebration for several years right after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York as a sign of respect and grief for the victims.
It wasn’t until last September when the Consulate started celebrating Independence Day once again, he said.
“Many Mexicans living in San Diego have a strong desire to celebrate this date,” he said.
Although many Americans confuse Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Independence Day, Cabrera said the two are very distinct celebrations.
“Cinco de Mayo took place later, in 1862, and it was a battle in Puebla against the French invasion,” he said. “Mexican Independence began on September 16, 1810, more than 50 years before Cinco de Mayo.”
Cabrera said that some of the heroes of Mexican Independence include Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Guadalupe Victoria, José María Morelos y Pavón, and Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez.
He said that Mexican parents must instill a sense of pride about Mexico’s past in their children.
In San Diego county there are about 750,000 people of Mexican descent, Cabrera said, although he said there are no data on how many of those are Mexican nationals.
He said that at about 250 Mexicans are served daily at the Mexican Consulate in San Diego, located in Little Italy.
Some of the most popular services are processing of passports and Matriculas Consulares, which serve as an official Mexican identification in many cities in California, Cabrera said.
“The Consulate General of Mexico invites all Mexicans in San Diego County to join in the celebration,” he said.