Photo courtesy La Familia Cortez Restaurants

San Antonio celebrates Mexico’s Independence Day

Photo of the rare 1811 Spanish Manuscript Map of the Library of Congress
1811 Pichardo Map courtesy Geography & Map Division, Library of Congress

This article appeared in the September 2017 issue of RIO Magazine, the official magazine of the San Antonio River Walk Association.

The Sixteenth of September is Mexico’s Fourth of July. On Sept. 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla delivered his famous Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores), entreating the people of Mexico to break free from Spain.

Eleven years later, Mexico claimed independence from its fatherland. During this time period, Texas was a part of Mexico, so it makes sense that San Antonio celebrates Diez y Seis each year since it is a part of our heritage. Plus, the Alamo City never turns down an opportunity to throw a party, so we have Diez y Seis events galore for you to experience and enjoy.

San Fernando Cathedral

The public is welcomed to attend a special Mass for the Diez y Seis Commission on Monday, Sept. 11, at 8 a.m. in San Fernando Cathedral. The cathedral, one of the oldest in the United States, was built between 1738 and 1750. Anglo settlers, like Jim Bowie, William Bowie and Davy Crockett, moved to Texas after Mexico separated from Spain in 1821. These men all perished in the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. You may visit their burial tomb in the cathedral.

Arneson River Theatre  

Photo courtesy City of San Antonio Parks & Recreation Department
Photo courtesy City of San Antonio Parks & Recreation Department

The San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department will present BRAVO! MI CULTURA! on Thursday, Sept. 14, and Friday, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m. in the Arneson River Theatre. Admission is free. Enjoy an evening of cultural dance selections that feature young dancers from the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department’s dance programs. Dance numbers will include Spanish Flamenco and Mexican Folklórico.

Cultural programming has been the  hallmark of the San Antonio Parks and  Recreation  Department for more than 83 years, making it the longest-running municipal  program in the country. The dance program was begun in 1934 by Bertha Almaguer, who taught dance to thousands of San Antonio’s children during her 36-year tenure.

Take Note, the award-winning SA Parks and Recreation Youth Band, will perform at the Arneson on Thursday, Sept. 21, and Friday, Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. Admission is free. Their BRAVO! LATINO! performance will include songs and compositions of Latin Jazz and Rock with influences from Spanish and African indigenous sources.

Every year, aspiring male and female vocalists, keyboardists, guitarists, drummers, and percussionists from the age of 13 to 18 audition. Take Note is a local favorite, playing throughout the year at numerous city events and with local professional musicians.

Market Square

Photo courtesy La Familia Cortez Restaurants
Photo courtesy La Familia Cortez Restaurants

El Grito San Antonio, an annual event hosted by the Mexican Consulate, will be in Historic Market Square on Friday, Sept. 15, at 6:30 p.m. Officiated by Consul General Reyna Torres Mendivil, the Cortez Family of Mi Tierra, La Margarita, Pico de Gallo and Viva Villa fame is the event’s title sponsor.

This year’s family-friendly celebration will spill out of Market Square onto Santa Rosa Street between Commerce and Dolorosa and will feature a colorful spectacle of music, dance and other entertainment, ending with the El Grito ceremony.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17, LULAC Council 648 will host its annual Fiestas Patrias Event in Historic Market Square from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. both days. Live music, food, drinks, and arts & crafts booths will give attendees plenty to enjoy and explore.

Market Square/El Mercado is a three-block indoor plaza with more than 100 locally-owned shops and stalls. El Mercado has been described as the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico.

Avenida Guadalupe Parade and Festival  

Photo courtesy the Avenida Guadalupe Association
Photo courtesy the Avenida Guadalupe Association

The Avenida Guadalupe Association welcomes San Antonio’s citizens and visitors to participate in its 36th Annual 16 de Septiembre Celebration.  The parade will begin on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 11:30 a.m. on the corner of Guadalupe and Brazos streets and travel through the heart of the historic West Side before ending at Plaza Guadalupe.

The plaza then becomes an all-day celebration featuring live Tejano, Conjunto and Mariachi music sponsored by Univision and H.E.B. Admission is free. Food, beer and sodas will be available for purchase. While at the festival, be sure to check out San Antonio artist Jesse Treviño’s 40-foot “La Veladora of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” the world’s largest Virgen de Guadalupe mosaic.

Diez y Seis Charreada

Photo by Joe Chidgey courtesy San Antonio Charros
Photo by Joe Chidgey courtesy San Antonio Charros

The San Antonio Charros (horsemen) have been on the banks of the San Antonio River near Mission San Jose since 1947. Their goal is to pass along a love for the charrería, the grandfather of rodeo. Both male and female teams compete in charreadas.

The Diez y Seis Charreada will take place on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 4 p.m. The gates open at 2 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 children. Food and drink will be available for purchase in the arena.

During the 3-hour rodeo, you will experience the “Marcha Zacatecas,” where the teams and the queen are presented to the audience and judges; the cala, showing the agility of the horses; the charreada, or bull and bronc riding as well as team roping; and finally, the “Paso de la Muerte” (death pass), where the charro rides his bareback horse and attempts to jump on a wild horse and tame it. Now that’s something you don’t see every day.

Rio Rio Cantina

To help celebrate Diez y Seis, Rio Rio Cantina is offering a special throughout the month of September on its Camerena tequilas. Camerena Silver is made from 100 percent Blue Agave, and Camerena Reposado is aged in a barrel for 60 days before bottling. Tequila Sunrises, Mexican Martinis and Palomas are $10 each. One child under age 6 eats free on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with each purchase of an adult entrée from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For even more ideas of fun things to do and see in San Antonio, visit Barnes & Noble, The Twig, Whole Foods, Half Price Books on 410 across from North Star Mall and on Broadway near downtown, San Antonio Museum of Art gift store, and Fiesta on Main to purchase “100 Things To Do in San Antonio Before You Die” by yours truly. Please like my Facebook page to stay in the loop on every San Antonio Tourist post.

Denise Barkis Richter, Ph.D., author of “100 Things To Do in San Antonio Before You Die,” has been blogging about San Antonio at since June of 2010. Her love affair with the Alamo City began at HemisFair in 1968. She is thrilled to have found the 1811 Pichardo map that depicts early Texas on the Library of Congress’ website.


4 thoughts on “San Antonio celebrates Mexico’s Independence Day

  1. Great article Denise. Spain lost all of it’s control in the 17th Century. Not only Mexico but all of Central and South America. They were quite the influence in trade and financial world wide. Rule by Kings and Queens was discovered just did not work. Power to the People!!

    1. Thanks for reading/commenting, Cliff! Power to the people is right, but people (citizens) must get off the bench and out onto the field. One of the best signs I saw this summer read: “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” We need to remember that.

  2. Hello, this is Dianne from Shirley’s party. I wish I had connected the dots and put your first name and last name together last night, but I didn’t…I have enjoyed your book and have shared some of the trips around town with friends and they think I am so cool! I have to give you all the credit. Hope we can connect again, but if not, I will see you next year at the birthday celebration.

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