September 17, 2004

Independence revives in Tijuana

By Luis Alonso Perez

In September, Mexicans celebrate their independence from Spain the way most like it: With a big Fiesta. Celebrating is in our culture, it’s in our blood. Festivities last all month long, we even call it patriotic month.

We don’t only remember our independence, we revive it.

Every year, the evening of September 15th, just like Miguel Hidalgo did, the president goes out on the balcony of El Zocalo, rings the bell and yells: “Long live Miguel Hidalgo, Long live the independence, Long live Mexico” He yells for war, rebellion and courage, a tradition that has evolved into a yell of joy and pride.

In every large city and small town in the country the Mayor in charge relives the traditional yell at the same time. For Tijuana’s Mayor, Jesus Gonzales Reyes, this was his last year to carry out the tradition. Next year, it will be Jorge Hank’s turn.

Even though we work in Spanish banks, American fast food restaurants or Korean Maquiladoras, people from Tijuana happily celebrate their independence, and sometimes get a visit from their brothers and sisters from the other side of the border, who join the party to celebrate their Mexican roots.

The main festivities were held at the fields surrounding City Hall begining on the evening of the 14th with a traditional Mexican Wrestling match between Tornado Negro and Super Kendo.

Wednesday the 15 is the main celebration day, and the party begins early, with an afternoon of food stands, mechanical rides, carnival games, performances from musical bands and folkloric dancing. And at 10 pm the Mayor steps out for the traditional yell, followed by fireworks and Mariachi music.

On the morning of the 16th a parade traveled through the main streets of Tijuana, with participants from the Armed Forces as well as students and athletes from local schools.

Every district in town will have their own small celebration. Different events will take place in each one, like the yelling and the parade. For the first time Playas de Tijuana held their celebrations on the boardwalk.

The traditional Tijuana fair began August 27 in Morelos Park, with a big lineup of musical bands and comedians performing in the People’s Theatre and the Palenque.

The Palenque had performances by some of Mexico’s biggest artists like Paquita la del Barrio; Lupillo Rivera; Lupita D’Alessio; Valentín Elizalde on the 16th; and to close off with a bang was Vicente Fernandez, with appearances on September 17 and 18.

Another important event worth taking notice is the Mexican Cuisine Festival, organized by CANIRAC Tijuana and Tecate to promote local restaurants that specialize in Mexican Food.

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