Mexican nationals flocked to Foggy Bottom last week to celebrate their country’s independence from Spain.
The Kennedy Center’s commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence included a “Fiesta Mexicana,” sponsored by the Mexican Embassy and the Mexican Cultural Institute.
Hundreds gathered at the Center’s south plaza on Sept. 15 to be a part of the celebration, which included traditional Mexican dishes, musical and dance performances and an appearance by Mexico’s ambassador to the United States to lead the “El Grito” ceremony.
“To see all of these people out to celebrate is very special,” said Gabriela Vega, a Mexican-born American who dressed in traditional Mexican clothing for the event. Her mother, Carmen Vega, said the most important part of the night was the display of Mexican unity and culture.
The evening began with performances by native Mexican musicians including Tlen Huicani, and then a dance performance by Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad Veracruzana. Later, Mariachi Los Amigos and Ozomatli joined the stage to perform.
During the celebration, the traditional El Grito de la Independencia ceremony – or the cry of independence – was led by Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S. Sarukhan began speaking in Spanish to the crowd, leading attendees to respond “Viva Mexico” three times. Afterward, Sarukhan led the singing of Mexico’s national anthem.
“This night made me feel proud to be Mexican, and it made me realize that we have something to be proud of,” said Natalia Garcia, a Mexican-American high school student.