Tavo Barajas and Antonio Huerta in traditional charro attire. PHOTOS PROVIDED/Antonio Huerta of Noche Cultural
SPRINGFIELD – Celebración de la Herencia Hispana & El Grito, the Hispanic Heritage Celebration and El Grito, is being held at Springfield City Hall from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13. Activities will include Mariachi music, an assortment of traditional dances, food booths, piñatas, face painting and other art activities. The celebration is free and open to all.
Springfield City Hall is located at 225 5th St. in Springfield. Previously, the event has been held at Willamalane’s Bob Keefer Center in Springfield.
The opening ceremony or El Grito is the kickoff of Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16) and is traditionally held the day before, on Sept. 15, by city officials and other government dignitaries. For this occasion, representatives from the Mexican Consulate in Portland will be coming down to join the Mayor of Springfield in officiating the beginning of the holiday celebration.
Although many in America believe that Mexican Independence Day is May 5, Antonio Huerta of Noche Cultural, which is presenting the Hispanic Heritage Celebration, said that in Mexico Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday, something similar to Labor Day, which has been commercialized in the United States. Mexico’s actual Independence Day celebrating their liberation from Spanish rule is celebrated on the anniversary of that event, which took place on Sept. 16, 1810.
El Grito (The Cry) commemorates the call put forth by the priest Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla for citizens to rise up and overthrow their Spanish overlords. It is said that Hidalgo rang his church bell as a call to arms and the rousing speech he gave in front of his church (referred to as the Cry of Dolores or el Grito de Dolores) sparked the revolution.
The Hispanic Heritage Celebration is not only a celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day but also corresponds with the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The Hispanic Heritage Celebration is a part of Fiesta Cultural, an ongoing series of events in the Eugene/Springfield area, to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
According to the National Archives, ”The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988.”
The Hispanic Heritage Celebration welcomes and includes the celebration of all Hispanic cultures. The poster for the event depicts the flags of 20 Latin American countries. This inclusiveness is also reflected in the lineup of talent at the event.
The Hispanic Heritage Celebration is presented by Noche Cultural, Eugene Arte Latino and the Springfield Public Library and Springfield Museum. More info: nochecultural.com.