Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mexican indepedence bicentennial:
the observance in Indianapolis

The MacAllister Center for the Performing Arts, the site of the Macbeth play whose pictures were featured in yesterday's post, was also the locale for Wednesday's celebration by Indianapolis residents of Mexican heritage to mark the beginnings of two significant milestones: The bicentennial of Mexican independence from Spain and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican revolution.

The local observance got started in mid-afternoon (4 p.m.), while I was still at work. That's when they had the ceremonial activities, including the "Grito," which is short for el grito de la independencia (cry of independence). The cry Viva Mexico! was uttered on Sept. 16, 1810, by a Roman Catholic priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Castilla, who was from the town of Dolores near Guanajuato.

The lengthy conflict entailing the War of Independence ended in 1821 when representatives of the Spanish crown signed the Treaty of Cordoba, recognizing Mexico's independence. In Mexico, the full Grito ceremony on the annual day of observance entails the country's president ringing a bell at the presidential palace in late evening of Sept. 15. Then, while standing at the palace balcony overlooking the crowd below, the president reads the names of the important heroes of the War of Independence, concluding with a three-time shouting of Hidalgo's cry -- Viva Mexico! The annual celebration of independence is observed worldwide, wherever there are Mexican Consulates and Embassies. In Indianapolis, the Mexican community was represented by Consuls Juan Solana and Martin Alcala.

The revolution was another protracted, major armed battle that began in 1910 and continued into the next decade. It launched with the uprising against autocrat Porfirio Diaz and led to the establishment of the Mexican Constitution in 1917 -- four years before the skirmishes officially ended.

The annual observance and celebration concludes with a night of fun, music/entertainment, food and a fireworks show. That's the part of the Indianapolis celebration I encountered by the time I arrived; I'll provide some images from the fireworks in tomorrow's post. These images are from the festivities at the amphitheater, which is in Garfield Park. Featured entertainer that evening (the man you see in several pictures in this post, including the lead image at the top) was Joaldy (full name: Joaldy Yanez), a quite animated singer from Chicago who fashions himself as a premier imitator of singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel, one of the most famous living representatives of the Mexican ranchera, ballad, mariachi and pop music styles.

And now, without further adieu, some of the images I grabbed from the evening festivities.

Joaldy, backed by three dancers, didn't seem to mind the slideshow projector image stamped on his lower torso. He stayed in that position for some time ... and came back several times.

The crowd in the MacAllister amphitheater audience, looking up at Joaldy's show.

The color and festooning of the stage to mark the celebratory occasion is reflected in the stage-level image above and the perspective shot below.

Note the bicentennial number 200 over the orange balloon arc.

The crowd outside the amphitheater and near the vendor booths featuring arts, crafts and paraphernalia promoting Mexican culture.

A detail shot of a multicolor jeweled tiara in one of the vendor booths. Each tiara had at least one jewel with a flashing light.

Some crafted woodwork above a beverage stand in the vendor area.

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