On Friday night, July 8th, we had heard about a free Independence Day celebration at the historic Teatro Colon so we made our way there along with hundreds of other people. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the memo about there being limited outdoor seating. However, we weren’t bothered by it and took our place along with plenty of other standing spectators who had missed their chance as well. As expected, the show was amazing. There were tango performances, stories of how Argentina gained it’s independence, orquestras playing their symphonies, etc. What stood out to me was a cutltural showcase number which featured the major immigrant groups that came to Argentina and that now call this place their home. The major groups were the Spanish, Italians, and the Russians. To be honest, I didn’t see that last group coming, I wasn’t aware that there was a big Russian community here. Now, the blond hair/blue eye stereotype makes sense though (please keep in mind that I now realize that’s a misconception).
When the day finally arrived, I was surprised by the lack of people running around the street in celebration. Instead I went to La Boca and joined a social equality festival. I learned about what their organization is about and the programs they are hoping to have in place by this time next year. There was a live radio broadcast happening and it invited/hosted a lot of other social and political organizations to come on and speak about what it is they are doing and their thoughts on the current political situation in Argentina. If there’s one thing that I took away from this was how passionate this community is about helping one another and how passionately they dislike their current president.
Whereas we (Americans) use our Independence day to celebrate our victory from a long time ago; Argentinians use this day to recognize their advancements as a society but at the same time use this day to voice their concerns and hopes for the future. What a huge difference, no?