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L.A. is almost 237 years old. The celebration began on Saturday.

L.A. is almost 237 years old. The celebration began on Saturday.
Maria Franco began the procession in the traditional Chinelo-style dress to celebrate Los Angeles' 237th birthday. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times) (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

Celebrations began Saturday to mark Los Angeles’ birthday, though the city has to wait until Sept. 4 to reach the ripe age of 237.

Hundreds attended a Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown, then joined a procession to Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, commonly called La Placita, next to L.A.’s historic Olvera Street.

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The Votive Mass that began Saturday's festivities.
The Votive Mass that began Saturday's festivities. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

Though the event started with a Catholic homily, the celebration was billed as “multicultural,” according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

“The first families of Los Angeles included Africans, Indians, Europeans and Asians from the Pacific Islands. And today the Church in Los Angeles speaks more than 40 languages,” Archbishop José Gomez said in a statement. “So we are celebrating Los Angeles and also the beautiful dream of America.”

Participants included children in traditional cultural wear from different regions, as well as performers, “banners, flags, color guards and bagpipers,” according to the archdiocese.

Hundreds in a procession to La Placita Church in Los Angeles on Aug. 25, 2018.
Hundreds in a procession to La Placita Church in Los Angeles on Aug. 25, 2018. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)
Mexican dancers begin the procession to honor Our Lady Queen of Angels to celebrate Los Angeles's 237th birthday.
Mexican dancers begin the procession to honor Our Lady Queen of Angels to celebrate Los Angeles's 237th birthday. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)
Jonah Oliviero Trabanino, 5, plays with a banner that represents the Virgin of Guatemala.
Jonah Oliviero Trabanino, 5, plays with a banner that represents the Virgin of Guatemala. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

The walk didn’t deter older participants, who joined the procession both by watching and walking.

Arturo Carrillo wears a hat of the Virgin Mary as he watches the procession in dedication to Our Lady of Angels.
Arturo Carrillo wears a hat of the Virgin Mary as he watches the procession in dedication to Our Lady of Angels. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)
Catarina Atilano prays with her rosary as she walks through downtown Los Angeles.
Catarina Atilano prays with her rosary as she walks through downtown Los Angeles. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)
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