Celebrate Diez y Seis in Austin

Musicians with the band La Voz de Trescientos perform under the covered stage Sunday afternoon September 15, 2013. Fiestas Patrias of Austin celebrated the 35th Annual Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta at Fiesta Gardens Park in east Austin to commemorate Mexico's independence from Spain. The annual celebration featured dancing, music and traditional festival food and drink.  RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Musicians with the band La Voz de Trescientos perform under the covered stage Sunday afternoon September 15, 2013. Fiestas Patrias of Austin celebrated the 35th Annual Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta at Fiesta Gardens Park in east Austin to commemorate Mexico’s independence from Spain. The annual celebration featured dancing, music and traditional festival food and drink.
RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

In Mexico City, the first signs that Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16) is approaching are restaurant signs announcing the arrival of chiles en nogada. The seasonal stuffed green chile poblano, invented by Puebla nuns, is drenched in a white walnut sauce and topped with red pomegranate seeds, featuring all the colors of the Mexican flag. They’re the culinary staple of the holiday.

Some of my fondest memories of celebrating Diez y Seis in the Mexican capital city include dancing, eating and drinking at the festive parties in neighborhood plazas that brought revelers together to eventually shout the Mexican cry for Independence, or “El Grito.”

Many cities across the U.S. have also embraced Diez y Seis and created their own traditions. In Austin, there are several ways to enjoy the holiday. Swing by Fiesta Gardens on Sept. 12, where the daylong pachanga starts at 11 a.m. Try all the good food and bring your dancing shoes. Tejano music giants Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz will headline the festival at 9:30 p.m.

At the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, the ¡Viva México! 2015 celebration starts at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 and will feature art, mariachi music and a youth orchestra. Mexico’s Consulate General Carlos Gonzalez Gutiérrez will also address the crowd.

Austinites will even be celebrating Diez y Seis on the south steps of the Capitol from 5-10 p.m. Sept. 15 with live music performances and ballet folklorico. At 9 p.m., Gonzalez Gutiérrez will re-enact “El Grito,” which was the call for independence that Father Miguel Hidalgo gave in 1810.

“Texas and Mexico are bound together by history, geography and traditions,” said Gloria Mata Pennington, chair of the Fiesta de Independencia Committee, in a news release. “The fact that the Fiesta del Grito is now held at the Texas State Capitol is an acknowledgement of the importance of that connection, the rich culture, and the contributions of Texans of Mexican heritage.”

Welcome to Cultura en Austin, a new Latino cultural arts blog

Welcome to Cultura en Austin, a new blog focusing on Latino cultural arts. I grew up in the Texas border town of Eagle Pass, and have been covering Latino culture for the American-Statesman and Austin 360 since 2011. Before that, I covered Latino issues as a journalist in Mexico City.

You can find my monthly column highlighting the best Latino events every last Friday of the month in print and online in Austin 360.

So, let’s deep dive into the richness of Austin’s Latino culture from art to music. Know of a cool cultural event? Is there an inspiring Austin-based Latino/a in the arts that we should know about? Let us know, and let’s explore the city’s cultural gems together.