Celebrating Diez y Seis

HARLINGEN — “Guadalajara, Guadalajara!”

The energy of the mariachis seemed to charge the audience last night at Harlingen Municipal Auditorium. They’d come to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day, Diez y Seis de Septiembre.

Numerous groups and individuals had gathered for the festivities, some to observe, others to participate.

“We are very proud to bring our students,” said Nancy Ortiz, one of the instructors from the Escuela Normal Licenciado J. Guadalupe Mainero in Matamoros. The young ladies in festive clothing had gathered in the lobby before entering the auditorium to take part in the observance.

“It means we are enjoying our freedom,” Ortiz said.

“It’s the freedom of our people,” added fellow instructor Patricia Ortiz.

Their students showed their enthusiasm as well.

“I am proud to be here,” said Vania Escalante, 21. “It’s a moment in our national history when we become a new country, Mexico. We wated to have our new home.”

Some attendees had a different take on the historical moment.

“It actually started on the 15th, the night before,” said Norma Perez-Olazaran, 50. She said the Rev. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the bell for independence the previous evening, just before midnight.

She questioned whether the war for independence from Spain really did create a new country.

Nevertheless, she’s proud of the progress Mexico has made and the cultural diversity that still thrives.

“We still have our roots there,” said Perez-Olazaran, who has family in San Luis Potosi. She enjoys visiting there, and her daughter Marianna spoke enthusiastically about family trips there.

“We don’t go all the time but we go pretty often,” she said. “I love it over there.”