PHOENIX — Events are taking place every day, recognizing Hispanic and Latino history and culture, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Thursday was a day of celebration for folks at a community center for Chicanos Por La Causa on 32nd Avenue and Van Buren Street.
Mariachi International Mariachisimo played music, while people enjoyed traditional dishes honoring Mexico, on the country's Día de la Independencia. That means Independence Day in Spanish.
Marissa Calderon is the Associate Director of Family Empowerment with Chicanos Por La Causa. Her mom is from Mazatlan, Sinaloa in Mexico.
She says there is a lot to be proud of.
“It is really something to highlight the hardworking Latino that some of them may be immigrants, but some of us like me, we’re first-generation--and it’s a big deal,” she told ABC15.
On a day like this, folks also tested their skills in a traditional card game called lotería, known as Mexican bingo.
“Loteria is absolutely can be intense, and I will say I have seen some competitiveness happen between grown adults,” said Calderon.
Lotería is similar to bingo but uses images on a deck of cards instead of numbered ping pong balls.
It’s a game Calderon says she grew up playing with her family.
“It is something that little small children and little adults can play together and it is a really good way to bond with our elderly population. I know I used to play it with my abuelita, my grandparent,” she told ABC15.
Calderon says it’s also one where you can learn a little Spanish.
Dora Rutiaga is from Sinaloa, Mexico.
She says this game takes her home.
“When someone is so far from their family, it’s the traditions that bring back the memory of our grandma, our mom,” she said in Spanish.
While Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated one month out of the year, Calderon says it’s important to celebrate victories within the Hispanic and Latino community, each and every day.
“Honor our work. Honor our culture. I always say, don’t just celebrate our food. Celebrate us as well,” added Calderon.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15.