A symbol of Mexican independence takes residence in Nampa
Representatives from the state of Jalisco in Mexico joined community members at the Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho in Nampa Tuesday to unveil a copy of the Bell of Dolores, a popular symbol in Mexico’s creation story.
Weighing close to 440 pounds and standing at almost three feet tall, the bell will be on display at the Hispanic Cultural Center for the public to see.
The bell is a replica of the famous Campana de Libertad, the church bell from the city of Dolores in Guanajuato rung by Father Miguel Hidalgo on September 16, 1810 as a call to arms that ushered the Mexican War of Independence against Spain.
“That is why it's coming here, is to celebrate and to remind our people that this bell is liberty for them,” said Belia Paz, a member of Consejo de Comunidades Hispanas who co-organized the inauguration.
The bilingual festivities included traditional dances and performances as well as a parade of all-female Mexican horse riders called Escaramuzas, representing the women who fought in Mexico’s Revolution 100 years after the War of Independence.
Both Boise Mayor Lauren McLean and Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling were present at the ceremony.
The original bell is located in the National Palace in Mexico City. A popular symbol of freedom in Mexico, it is rung each year on September 15 on the eve of Independence Day by the sitting president.
“It's a huge national symbol for Mexicans,” said Estefania Mondragon, the Executive Director of PODER of Idaho who co-organized the inauguration with Paz. “Mexicans living abroad and their children have this piece of history to commemorate, to remember where they're from."
“Part of the requirements of receiving a bell is having it and ringing it on Mexican Independence Day and having a community gathering so we can celebrate our heritage,” Mondragon explained.
Mondragon was born in the U.S. and has deep family ties in Guanajuato, where the 1810 uprisings first started. She just recently received her Mexican citizenship.
“Being part of this event is so exciting because I get to represent both of my cultures at the same time and the blending of both,” she noted. “It's like the show of friendship between the two nations.”
The bell was donated by the nonprofit Honoris Causa of Jalisco and Productos de la Rosa candy manufacturer Enrique Mitchel Velasco who attended the ceremony with his family on Tuesday. Velasco has pledged to send a bell to every state in the U.S.
Idaho is the fifth state to receive one so far.