New Mexico is a state rich in culture and tradition. Celebrating pivotal points in the state’s long and varied history is a way of staying close to our roots. Which is why Diez y Seis de Septiembre is so important, not only to families that can trace their lineage back to Spanish rule, but to newcomers and visitors who may not be aware of such colorful narratives. Celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spain in the historic town of La Mesilla, over the September 17 – 18 weekend.
It all started in 1810, when Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla – a Roman Catholic priest who spent most of his life challenging traditional political and religious views – stood on the church steps in the town of Dolores and read El Grito de Dolores on September 16. The Grito was a call to arms against Spain, by those born in the “new world” with Spanish ancestry, but who were not given the considerations or privileges of European Spaniards. At that time, the Spanish Empire encompassed present day Mexico, as well as California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida and part of Oklahoma.
So widespread was the displeasure of the colonists with their motherland that the call to action spread like wildfire and began a war that would last eleven years, and end with Mexico’s independence from Spain. Unfortunately, Father Hidalgo would not live to see that day, having been executed and martyred in 1811. To this day, the holiday carries as much significance for those native to this area as the Fourth of July does for the United States. Mesilla, being the historic epicenter of Mexican-American culture in New Mexico, goes all out to honor this holiday.
The celebration kicks off with a parade along Avenida de Mesilla, with floats, marching bands, color guards, spirit squads, antique vehicles and more. What follows is a colorful display of patriotic pride on the Mesilla Plaza, with mariachi music, ballet folklorico dancers, piñatas, vendor booths, arts and crafts, games, delicious traditional foods and much more.
Old world traditions offer a fascinating look into a very colorful past, and underline the diversity to be found in the Borderlands. Get a glimpse into the events that made New Mexico such a melting pot of cultures and traditions at one of the most colorful displays of ethnic pride this side of the present-day border. For more information, visit the website.
Posted by LasCruces.com