Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Helena Rodriguez
PORTALES — Hispanic Heritage Month officially kicks off on Thursday at Eastern New Mexico University as the Office of Hispanic Affairs presents the annual Mexican Independence Day celebration from 5-8 p.m. on the Dallan Sanders Patio behind the Campus Union Building. The event is free and open to the public.
The fiestas will include live entertainment as well as a re-enactment of El Grito de Dolores by visiting deputy Mexican consul Benito Valdez Vega, who will also sing the Mexican National Anthem. El Grito de Dolores was a symbolic battle-cry on Sept. 16, 1810, by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla that revolutionized the course of Mexican history and began Mexico's road to independence from Spain. Today the event, known as el Diez y Seis de Septiembre, is observed by Hispanics in both the United States and Mexico.
Live entertainment on Thursday will include performances by a children's ballet folklorico dance group from La Casita Elementary School in Clovis, Spanish Christian music and cumbias by ENMU student Lucero Davalos Tirado and Los Padres and performances also by the Portales High School ballet folklorico and Eastern's BIDA (Ballet Ideal de Danza Aztlan) dance group. There will also be displays in the CUB lobby and Pecos Room from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. showcasing each state in Mexico, complete with literature, pictures and souvenirs from the regions.
Free cokes will be served at the outdoor fiesta, which will be followed by fireworks at the fountain and a dance in the CUB Ballroom, sponsored by the Latin fraternity, Lambda Theta Phi. Tickets will be sold at the door.
"I think some people confuse Diez y Seis de Septiembre with Cinco de Mayo and why we do this," said Nancy Varelas, student director of the Office of Hispanic Affairs. Diez y Seis de Septiembre commemorates Mexico's independence from Spain while Cinco de Mayo, observed on May 5, commemorates the victory of a small Mexican army over French troops in Puebla, Mexico, on May 5, 1862. "The reason we do this is to share our Hispanic culture with other people. It is not just for Hispanics," Varelas added.
In addition to the Thursday event, activities are planned throughout national Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through Oct. 15. The ENMU College of Fine Arts is sponsoring a photography exhibit, "Lourdes Delgado: A Community of Visions," from Sept. 20-30 inside of the Runnels Gallery at the Golden Library during regular library hours. A reception will be announced at a later date.
Other Hispanic Heritage Month activities will include weekly movies on Fridays in the Student Success Center located in The Alley of the CUB Building. Movies, such as "Mi Familia" and "Selena," will be shown on a continuous basis from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and popcorn will be served. Finally, the month of events will culminate with a Hispanic Heritage Fashion Show and Contest in Ground Zero at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15. All students are welcome to participate by signing up and modeling Hispanic fashions, from traditional to contemporary attire representing the United States, Mexico or other Latin countries. Cash prizes will be awarded.
For more information about Hispanic Heritage Month, contact the Office of Hispanic Affairs at 505.562.2451.