More than 40,000 people are expected in Santa Ana this weekend to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day, which all of Central America shares equally, making it also the Independence Day of the nations of Guatemala, from Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
On Thursday, September 15, a launch celebration was held in historic downtown Santa Ana at Plaza Calle Cuatro hosted by the Mexican Consulate, which was attended by hundreds, according to spokesperson Gabriel Juarez Alvarado. of the consulate.
El Grito was led by Dr Audrey Rivera GomezMain Consul of Mexico in Santa Ana.
“This celebration commemorates one of the most relevant civic events in our history as an independent nation,” Rivera Gomez said in a telephone interview.
“Santa Ana is 80% Latino and among these 80%, the majority comes from Mexico. Long live Mexico! Yes?” Mayor Sarmiento, originally from Bolivia, told a cheering crowd.
For an hour, Calle Cuatro Plaza turned into a place of nostalgia for many immigrants, who cannot party in Mexico.
“There is nostalgia and a desire to return to Mexico from many people I speak to, but many may leave but not return,” Alvarado said, “Mexicans, I know you are here, that you work and you send money to your family, I want you to feel ‘El Grito’ for Mexico because I know you have Mexico in your heart.
The event was a free community event where many Latin American organizations, both private and non-profit, and local officials came together to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day. Organizations and community members, such as Banda de Guerra Osos de Californa, United Across Borders Foundation and Northgate Market, and others. Many attendees were recognized by local Congressman Lou Correa, D-Anaheim, who also represents Santa Ana, and by the City of Santa Ana for their participation. Santa Ana Mayor, Mayor Sarmiento, OC Board Supervisor Katrina Foley, and Santa Ana Councilwoman Jessie Lopez attended.
The ceremony was filled with traditional songs and dances from Mexico in traditional dress.
Not far from the plaza, another Independence Day commemoration took over the Santa Ana skyline.
The city’s iconic downtown water tower was lit up by city officials in blue to celebrate the Central American countries which also celebrate their independence on September 15.
The tower which, in recent years, bore the colors of the Mexican flag was blue.
“Last night we lit up the water tower in blue and white in honor of the five Central American countries celebrating their Independence Day today, September 15. Our city is proud to share such a diverse Hispanic culture. The tower will be illuminated tonight. ¡Que Vivan El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Nicaragua and Costa Rican read the official City of Santa Ana Facebook post.
The gesture was put in place to celebrate all of the Latino immigrant families who call Santa Ana home, as council member Jessie Lopez suggested.
“It should be noted that the request to turn it on came from board member Jessie Lopez, who is Salvadoran-American. It is important to note that Santa Ana is home to immigrant families from Central America and other parts of Latin America, not just Mexico,” Santa Ana spokesperson Paul Eakins said via email. .
“You know, I personally think, for me, it’s like a feel-good moment to see all the Salvadorans in the city of Santa Ana having, you know, a moment in time to see their house, the color of their homeland reflected, on the water tower, because there’s a population of us here that I think hasn’t necessarily been recognized or celebrated in the past,” Lopez said.
Lopez says it’s the first time the water tower has been blue during this time, normally it’s the color of the Mexican flag.
Voice of OC contacted the City of Santa Ana to ask if this was the first time the water tower had been lit blue. “I don’t remember doing it in the almost 3 years I was with the City,” Eakins said.
“I reported it to the staff, it was also part of an educational process for everyone to let them know, part of, you know, Hispanic or Latino, then whatever you want to call it the Heritage Month is about, you know, Latin America, in general, from Chile to Mexico to Central America, celebrating their independence from Spain.
This weekend, Santa Ana expects 40,000 people to visit Fiestas Patrias. The annual celebration normally hosts a parade, but for the past 2 years it has been scaled back due to the pandemic, but this year it will not take place due to ongoing construction in the area.
The layout of the Fiestas Patrias for the 17th and 18th in downtown Santa Ana and the set times can be found here.
“Due to ongoing construction in downtown and on Main Street (where the parade normally takes place), additional street closures would have been required to hold the parade this year. We didn’t want to have any additional impact on local businesses and neighborhoods already impacted by construction closures. We hope we can bring the parade back next year,” Eakins said.
Despite street closures and earlier pandemic restrictions, the celebrations continue.
“The central message here is that we wanted to bring a piece of Mexico here so that they don’t forget their roots, it’s to bring a memory of Mexico, of its independence, and not to forget to be proud of their country,” says Alvarado.
Here’s how the Consul General of Mexico kicked off the celebrations this week in Santa Ana.