SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds met outside of San Jose City Hall for a monumental occasion on Thursday- 200 years of Mexican Independence.
The sights and sounds of Mexican Independence Day were seen in the heart of Downtown San Jose, from the afternoon until the evening hours.
"We've been in our houses for so long that these types of events bring us out and give us some happiness," Brenda Zendejas told ABC7 News.
Celebrated every September 16th, the day commemorates Mexico's freedom from centuries of Spanish rule.
During the speaking portion of the celebration, guests heard from a number of city leaders including Councilman Raul Peralez.
He emphasized the real significance for the South Bay.
"We have icons like Cesar Chavez that have demonstrated and rallied hundreds of times for community members right here," Peralez shared. "Beginning in the city of San Jose."
Other distinguished guests included various councilmembers, Consulate General of Mexico in San José Alejandra Bologna and Congressman Ro Khanna. Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco leading the event.
The community that came out on Thursday, connected through culture.
The event brought an el Grito, flag raising, live performances by Aztec dancers, Banda, and art from Latino artists and food.
Parts of the celebration helped to keep the past, present.
"Today means a lot of pride in our culture, a lot of pride in our history," Peter Ortiz, Vice President of the Santa Clara County Board of Education told ABC7 News. "As a descendant of immigrants from Mexico, I see this day as a symbol of self-determination for our people."
Other residents said the added recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month means more during such a difficult year.
"Being able to share this moment, to share our pride," professional singer Gabriela Sepulveda said. "We know immigrants have offered so much. Especially during the pandemic. We would not be here without them."
Sepulveda sang the National Anthem during the flag-raising portion of the night.
Fit for the pandemic, there was also an on-site vaccination clinic.
In all, the anniversary event highlighted one of Mexico's most important holidays, which is celebrated worldwide.
"Just being out here and being able to see my community is so amazing," Sepulveda continued. "So grateful and so proud to be Mexican American."