To Colombians, July 20 is symbolic because that is the day their country became an independent republic. Some Austin area Colombians celebrated their country’s 200th year of independence from Spain, Bicentennial Day, this past weekend.
“Colombia is the country with the 29th largest population in the world, 4th largest economy in Latin America. People celebrating usually wear yellow, red, and blue, the colors of the Colombian national flag,” said Ramiro Pena, from Colombia’s capital city Bogota.
One of the bigger celebrations was held on Saturday, July 17, at the St. Williams Catholic Church Hall (620 Round Rock West Dr., Round Rock, TX). Guests heard sounds from Son Cache, Vallenatos de Mi Tierra, Grupo de Rock and Roll, and DJ Gumby.
“It is very important to celebrate our country’s independence wherever we may live now,” said Emilia Hurtado, owner of Casa Colombia. This East Austin restaurant had a special menu for the weekend prior to Independence Day. They served up traditional favorite foods like morcilla rellena (dark sausage), buñuelos (light fried Colombian pastries), pan de bonos (usually round food made of dough), sopa de mondongo (tripe soup), and higado encebollado (liver recipe with onion and garlic).
Jazmin Nunez, one of the partners at the Casa Colombia restaurant, said “We usually do the event here, but we are happy to celebrate anywhere, and there will be three bands and a DJ at the Round Rock celebration.”
Nury Belez, who is originally from Calle, Colombia, and son Jon Ravera own the Asi es Colombia restaurant and really enjoy celebrating the diverse culture of their country’s Independence Day. “We celebrate because it is part of our heritage and we feel strongly about it,” said Ravera.
The restaurant featured the Vallenatos de Mitierra band on Sunday and offered traditional Colombian dishes like their bandeja paisa, which comes with carne asada, ground beef, pork rinds, two eggs, sausage, white rice, sweet plantains, avocado, and arepa (a bread made of corn), along with chocoflan and arroz con leche for desserts.By Monica Pena