Where to celebrate Diez y Seis in Austin

Dancers with the Ballet Folklorico Mari Cruz, including Silva Tidrick, right, and Lucia Fernandez, center, perform a dance from the Nayarit region of Mexico for the crowd under the outdoor 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 this weekend to commemorate Mexico's independence from Spain. The annual celebration featured dancing, music and traditional festival food and drink. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATEmSMAN
Dancers with the Ballet Folklorico Mari Cruz, including Silva Tidrick, right, and Lucia Fernandez, center, perform a dance from the Nayarit region of Mexico for the crowd under the outdoor stage Sunday afternoon September 15, 2013. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Enjoy an Austin-style Mexican Independence Day at events throughout the city. On Sept. 17, bring your lawn chair to Fiesta Gardens Park West and enjoy the free Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Ballet folklorico, mariachi and Tejano music performances begin at 12:30 p.m. and local Tejano group Los A-T Boyz will headline the festival at 8:30 p.m. Visit diezyseis.org for more information.

At the Texas State Capitol, Austinites can celebrate the “Fiesta del Grito de Independencia” with live music, ballet folklorico performances and a re-enactment of “El Grito” from 6-9:30 p.m. on Sept. 15. At 9 p.m. Consul General of Mexico Carlos González Gutiérrez will give the “grito,” which was the call for independence that Father Miguel Hidalgo gave in 1810. Due to Capitol renovations, the stage will be located between 11th and Colorado streets this year.

WANT MORE LATINO CULTURAL ARTS COVERAGE? CHECK OUT CULTURA EN AUSTIN

Keep an eye out for the annual ¡Viva Mexico! celebration at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center.  González Gutiérrez will begin the festivities with welcoming remarks at 6 p.m. Live entertainment will include Mariachi Amor, Ballet Folklorico Mexikayotl and other musical guests. Visit austintexas.gov/esbmacc for updates.

Know of more Austin events celebrating Mexican Independence? Leave us a comment.

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.”

Austin celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

Dancers from the Austin High School Ballet Folklorico perform on the floor of the Texas State Capitol rotund during the annual Diez y Seis de Septiembre celebration, sponsored by State Sen. Kirk Watson and State Rep. Eddie, in  2014.  RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Dancers from the Austin High School Ballet Folklorico perform on the floor of the Texas State Capitol rotund during the annual Diez y Seis de Septiembre celebration, sponsored by State Sen. Kirk Watson and State Rep. Eddie, in 2014.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

While Mexico celebrates its Independence Day on Sept. 16, several other Latin American countries also celebrate their independence next month. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua all have Independence Days on Sept. 15. Chile celebrates on Sept. 18 and Belize on Sept. 21.

All of these days coincide with the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., which runs from Sept. 15-Oct. 15 and recognizes the contributions of Hispanics in America. The Hispanic Heritage Center of Texas, which is located in San Antonio, is currently seeking authentic photos, documents, paintings, audio recordings or film dating back to Texas’ beginnings to preserve family heritage and history. If you’d like to share your story, visit hhctx.org.

Americans have been celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month since President Ronald Reagan expanded Hispanic Heritage Week in 1988.

During the month, keep an eye out for special programming at schools, cultural centers, libraries and museums.

Austin’s PBS station KLRU plans to offer several documentaries both online and on television including a profile on the life of popular Mexican-American writer Rudolfo Anaya, which will air at 10:30 p.m. Sept. 21. It’ll also premiere the documentary “On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam,” which tells the story of two siblings who stood on opposite sides of the Vietnam War, at 9 p.m. Sept. 22.

Do you know of other events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month? Let us know in the comments section.