SAN ANTONIO — In celebration of Diez y Seis, Mexico’s Day of Independence, the City of San Antonio has a whole month of virtual and in-person events to celebrate Hispanic heritage and the city’s special relationship with Mexico.
“Basically a month-long (calendar) of events celebrating Hispanic heritage kicking off with El Grito and Dia de la Indepencia, Mexico’s Day of Independence,” said Belinda Menchaca, with the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.
Fiestas Patrias, San Antonio’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, kicked off Wednesday night with its El Grito Ceremony at Market Square. Last year’s celebration was conducted entirely through virtual events, but this year organizers are offering multiple avenues for participation.
“It’s very, very exciting. It’s just a great feeling to be able to perform in front of an audience,” Menchaca said.
This year is a special celebration for Menchaca, as 2021 also marks the 30th anniversary of their Guadalupe Dance Company.
“We’re honored to be celebrating 30 years of culture, 30 years of dance, of music, and doing it on such a momentous occasion.”
The Guadalupe Dance Company will be putting on anniversary performances at the Plaza Guadalupe at 1327 Guadalupe St. on Oct. 1 and 2 at 8 p.m.
Diez y Seis commemorates the moment in 1810 when Miguel Hidalgo kicked off the Mexican War for Independence.
“He made what we call the first grito, which is really nothing more than saying ‘Onward and upward and the revolution begins!’” said Avenida Guadalupe President Gabriel Velasquez.
Velasquez is excited to have in-person events back for this year’s celebration, but he’s just as enthusiastic about using the tools developed during the pandemic to bring the history surrounding Diez y Seis to the people of San Antonio.
“What we’ve always wanted to do, and (I) think is most important, is not just celebrate, but also have a history lesson. What is this Diez y Seis De Septembre, right?” he said.
Avenida Guadalupe will be premiering a new podcast on Saturday at 6 p.m. via TVSA which explores the role of San Antonio de Bexar in Diez y Seis and the Mexican War for Independence.
The full list of Fiestas Patrias events is available on the City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture's website.