Alhambra hosted its first Latino Heritage Festival on Sunday. The festival was held next to the Farmers Market at South Second Street between Main and Commonwealth. Performers—some of whom were local residents—treated the crowd to traditional music and dance.
“I hope we can have more community oriented events like this. It's good for the kids. We shall have all culture events, that would be nice,” said Kathy Duran, a long-time resident who has been living in Alhambra for more than 40 years.
As the demography of Alhambra gets more diversified, some residents think the city needs to create more ways to bridge the gaps between different communities. “People should know more about the differences. Latino culture has Mexican, Puerto Rican, Honduran, Cuban and a lot. Just like the Asian culture has Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and et cetera,” said Guadalupe Machuca, a resident of Alhambra.
“Today is also the Middle Autumn Festival in Chinese culture. It’s interesting to come over here, and learn something about different cultures,” said Helen Chan, who was visiting from Rosemead.
This festival is organized by the city as a part of the National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, which was first initialized in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, then developed to a month-long event in 1988. According to the celebration's website:
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
The city plans to make this festival an annual event and reach out to more people. “We hope people can spread the word, and more people would come to join us,” said Mayor Luis Ayala.