Folklorico dancers pose in front of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. Courtesy of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

Ceremony, celebration and commemoration abound as San Antonio enters

 

Kukulkan, plumed serpent of the Yucatec Maya. Illustrations by Enrique Bonilla

Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, México, Chile and Belize all celebrate their independence in September.

Since the late 1960s, the US government has recognized this by enacting Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 and later expanding it to Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988 to commemorate the struggle of Latin Americans’ independence, culture and history from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Fast forward to 2017, and you’ll find that hispanics and latinxs are the largest ethnic group in the United States. San Antonio is 63.8 percent hispanic and/or latinx and our city reflects that pride.

For UTSA, a hispanic serving institution, September is a culturally important month as 51 percent of our student population identifies as “hispanic,” the ethnonym subscribed to by UTSA to describe the hispanic and latinx population.

UTSA itself is “an outstanding example of a Hispanic Serving Institution,” as stated by President Eighmy.

The roots of Latin American culture run deep and wide throughout our city from our campus, to the missions and to the people.

All over San Antonio, celebrations and fiestas abound.

On campus starting this week, students will be able to access Latin American culture in several ways.

On Sept. 19, the University Center Paseo transforms into “Calle UTSA.” Students can view performances by the Latin Dance Society, Ballet Folkorico de UTSA and Multicultural Greek Council alongside Selena tribute band Bidi Bidi Banda and student DJ Matthew Hinojosa spinning latinx records.

DJ Matt Hinojosa spins that latinx fire. Courtesy of Lupito’s Photography

The Recreation Wellness Center will be teaching how to make the perfect picadillo empanadas, a classic Latin American comfort food on Sept. 21.

The University Center will also host their sixth Cultural Afromestizaje symposium on Oct. 12 discussing black and brown histories within beat-making and DJ culture.

A full list of UTSA Hispanic Heritage Month events is available on UTSA.edu.

Beyond the campus walls, San Antonio is also in puro pachanga mode (“party” for those with language barriers).

Downtown’s Market Square will host the Hispanic Heritage Weekend celebration complete with arts, crafts and live tejano and mariachi music. This Mexican and Tex-Mex leaning celebration is very fitting as San Antonio’s large Mexican and Mexican-American population makes up 41 percent of the city’s total population. The Hispanic Heritage Weekend event takes place from Sept. 23-24.

The Guadalupe Dance Company will be hosting traditional Mexican Folklorico and Flamenco dance performances at the Guadalupe Theater on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 for their annual “Celebrando Tradiciones” event.

Q’uq’umatz, feathered serpent of the K’iche’ Maya.

To commemorate the pre-Spanish roots of the original people on this continent, Kalpulli Ameyaltonal Tejaztlan will be hosting a workshop for those interested in learning Nahuatl, the language of some of the original inhabitants of this continent, the Anahuac Aztec. 

This indigenous immersive event will take place at the Martinez Street Women’s Center on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Hispanic Heritage Month has just begun. Regardless of identifying title (which is a topic of contention), take time these next few weeks to practice cultural efficacy and enjoy the latinx, afro-latinx, asian-latinx, indigenous latinxs and hispanic influence all around our city. 

Celebremos. Pahpaquizque. Ch’antay. Tiahui.

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