'Very proud of who I am': Despite pandemic, Bay Area celebrates Mexican Independence Day

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- September 16 is a very big day in many communities, as it marks Mexican Independence Day. This year celebrations have been limited due to COVID-19 but that didn't stop hundreds from coming out and celebrating in San Jose.

ABC7 News reporter J.R. Stone was outside the Cardenas market on Story Road, where crowds of people gathered in the parking lot. One little girl drove a big wheel with Mexican flags on it.

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"This is the real Independence Day, not Cinco de Mayo," says Ignacio Lopez of San Jose. We often hear about Cinco de Mayo, which is celebrated in the United States and represents a major Mexican battle victory.

September 16 is the day Mexico celebrates its independence, only this year there is COVID-19 and fires.

"Today I've been making some sales, I shouldn't complain. Basically they've been coming but not like I expected," says Silvia Morqucho who was selling flags, hats, and masks out of the back of her truck.

"It just sucks today because of the pandemic and everything going on, I just wish more people were out celebrating," says Jazmin Arias of Tacos Al Carbon.

While she was hoping for bigger crowds, she did her best to make drinks and keep the customers like Aracely Camora happy, "I said lets go eat and have mango margaritas, our favorite!"

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Add a small flag, a big flag, a flag on the car and you've got yourself a party. Well that, and a traditional Mexican dish. We asked little Victor what that dish should be and he was quick to respond, "I eat tamales!"

And while many others may be eating those to, for now it's all about celebrating Mexico, even in these challenging times.

"I'm half Cuban from my dad and half Mexican from my mom so I'm very proud of who I am," says Nilda Enriquez, whose thoughts were echoed by most.

"I know we are in a different country but remembering where we are coming from and who we are," says Ignacio Lopez.
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