Among the many varied cultures throughout The Lone Star State, the Hispanic culture may be the most prevalent, with over 40 percent of the population of Dallas County in the most recent census. Spanish is equally as spoken as English in Texas and the Hispanic influences in our history, hospitality and overall importance in the well-known Texan culture that almost everyone finds endearing are very evident.   

 

In the heart of Dallas and only a couple blocks northwest of Deep Ellum is The Dallas Latino Cultural Center. The description on their sleek website states that they’re a “multidisciplinary arts center and regional catalyst for the preservation, development and promotion of Latino and Hispanic arts and culture.”

 

The specific historical moments being celebrated on this nights, September 15th, was Aniversario de la Independencia or Mexican Independence Day and Grito de Dolores, when Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla essentially began The Mexican War for Independence by ringing a church bell, effectively making a “call to arms.” (3)

 

The Dallas Latino Cultural Center itself is far beyond just a simple multi-purpose room. It’s vast, with a thorough museum inside dedicated to some of the Latino musical greats, including Louis Morin and Juan “Johnny” Moa. Also, the powerful air conditioning was very relieving on this hot Friday night in Dallas. Outside along the entrance, there were merchants selling everything from handmade trinkets to shirts saying “Abort Pence, Deport Trump.”

 

(Josh Kasoff/MUI Daily News)

A sign leading to another entrance read “Aqui Estamos Y Nonos Vamos.” Translated, it states “We’re Here and We’re Not Leaving.” With everything going on currently in America, this was a stern and powerful message.

 

In another entrance, a rotunda room with a beautiful portrait above. While I never found out whom the gorgeous rotunda was of, I admired it’s natural beauty and the welcoming presence it gave to visitors. Inside the concert hall, various age groups, including a senior citizen dance group named the Silver Bullets, all performed authentic dance numbers while the audience clapped in perfect rhythm to the accompanying music.

 

Yet, even with the resonating messages outside, the event itself couldn’t have been more welcoming. Every vendor, whether it be food or merchandise, greeted you with the biggest smile and the utmost respect.

 

(Josh Kasoff/MUI Daily News)

Outside, there were musical performances, more food, and Univision even had a stunning mural that, along with pictures of cameramen and the many programs of the channel, read “Tu Gente, Tu Voz” or “Our People, Our Voice.” Next to the mural, there were blank canvases where guests could leave a nice comment of admiration about said mural.

 

“This mural symbolizes how on and off camera, we’re all one big family.”, one touching comment read.

 

And then I saw a sign that brought both happiness and personal pride in the interesting blend of Hispanic and Texan culture to me. The hand-written neon green sign read the five-letter word that could make anyone elated.

 

It simply read, “Tacos.”

 

I ate not only chicken street tacos but also tacos that had cactus as the main ingredient for a vegetarian option. To address the elephant in the room, yes, the cactus was actually delicious. Specifically, the nopales cactus leaf was the primary ingredient in the taco.

 

It was evident by the festival that both the holidays were ones that those of Mexican heritage celebrate with honor and pride. The food couldn’t have been better and the Latino Cultural Center couldn’t have been more interesting. I learned more about the fascinating history of Latino rock in a few minutes than previously in my life and this is certainly a holiday worth celebrating next year.   

 

Did you celebrate Fiestas Patrias this year? If so, Tweet me at @CaptainKasoff because I’d love to hear about it.