Celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day
SILVERTHORNE – Silverthorne father Filo Garcia spent most of Thursday afternoon in a sunny corner of the Silverthorne Elementary cafeteria. His broad shoulders cast a long shadow over a table crowded with giggling students as he dipped his hands into water and rolled out balls of masa dough.One by one, he coached the children as they placed the dough into an iron tortilla press and bore down on it with all their weight, flattening the balls into delicate, thin rounds.
“It’s excellent,” said the Mexican native, amidst hundreds of students, teachers and parents dressed in the festive garb of his homeland. “The kids are very intelligent. They pay attention and say, ‘Thank you very much.’ For me, it’s wonderful.”Garcia was one of about 30 parents who joined in Silverthorne Elementary’s celebration of Mexican Independence Day on Thursday. Students traveled around the school’s cafeteria and gymnasium through 12 stations, including Garcia’s tortilla-pressing workshop, learning about Mexican games, food, history, geography and cultural traditions.
Three long tables in the cafeteria overflowed with enchiladas, lime soup, beans, rice, salsa and roasted chicken, prepared by the parents and the kitchen staff at Mexico Cantina.”When we live in America, we still keep Mexico in our hearts. And it’s important for our children to do that too,” Garcia said.
Sept. 16 marks the anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule. And while the day is a big highlight on the Mexican calendar, it receives relatively little attention from Americans, who often mistake Cinco de Mayo for Mexico’s major national holiday.”Many people here don’t know that Sept. 16 is Independence Day. I cook at Old Chicago, and in May, everybody I work with says, ‘Oh, we’re ready for Cinco de Mayo!,’ but that’s a much smaller day for us.”
Silverthorne Spanish teacher Jennifer Swift, who organized the event, said Thursday’s activities amounted to far more than just a fiesta.”This embraces both cultures and teaches all our kids to try new things and to appreciate our similarities, even though we come from different backgrounds,” Swift said. “Everyone likes candy, everyone likes to play games and eat fun food.”
For some parents, the event was a quick escape to Mexico from the mountains of Colorado.”We are happy to be here, but we miss a lot of things from Mexico – the food, the language, the family, the fiestas,” said Dolores Lopez, mother of a Silverthorne fifth-grader. “When we do something like this, it feels like we’re back in our country for a few seconds.”
Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at email@example.com.
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