Show of Unity and Culture at the Hispanic Day Parade

16 Oct

  

There are few places in the US that can pull off a parade like the one on 5th Ave. today and the over 1 million spectators might agree.  New York City hosted the 47th annual Hispanic Day Parade this past Sunday with over 9000 marchers proudly displaying costumes and dances and music from all the 19 countries represented. Hispanics are the largest minority in the US and NYC is home to the largest Hispanic population in the country by city representing all aspects of society from laborers to celebrities to successful politicians and businesspeople. This was a day to celebrate and show off Hispanic heritage and culture to all that came to watch an event that would make all NYC proud.  Rachel and I couldn’t wait for the parade to get underway  as we saw all the different flags held by the crowd to cheer their countrymen as they marched by.  The mounted police made their way near the start of the parade route to kick off the parade soon to be followed by one of the premier marching bands of the city from Mother Cabrini opening with It’s a Small World After All. A show of unity came when the Committee for the Hispanic Parade carried all the flags of the Hispanic countries high in the air. What a beautiful sight that was. Along that same note, the Batala band pounded their drums to a rhythmic beat that got the crowd worked up and primed for the rest of the days incredible festivities. Rachel stayed by St. Patrick’s to take some great photos while I walked the parade route looking for some good action. It wasn’t hard to find in this parade

   

   Spain, the sponsor of the famous voyage of Columbus, was the lead country for the parade and the first time representative Spanish Civil Guard greeted the crowd. They were soon followed by a bagpipe band and float with flamenco dancers thrilling the crowd with their moves.  Argentinian gauchos appeared with lovely ladies in classy dresses however the show stealer were the tango dancers. Then the fun really started when the Bolivian contingency made their way up the parade route. There must have been over 1000 marchers for this group alone and they did not disappoint. Displaying some of the most colorful costumes and masks we’ve seen this year. The group of dancing Indians were amazing. The Bolivian Tinkus followed with more amazing costumes and dancing. Probably one of the most energetic dancing groups had to go to San Simon Caporales with their fancy costumes and great choreography. Toning things down some came the Chilean group with gauchos and elegant ladies showing off their traditional dance moves. The breather was only for a few minutes as the Colombians made their way up 5th Ave. dancing cumbia and getting the crowd into it.

    

                                   

                                  

     

     Things got a little sinister when the Dominicans marched up with half their group dressed in diablo costumes while dancing merengue and cracking their whips. Ecuadorians represented with a float and marchers performing typical dances followed by the Salvadoreans. The next largest group to impress the crowd were from Guatemala. After the group VIPs marched by carrying their flag, a marching band, Banda Guerra, kicked it up a notch with some really good moves but they were outdone by the Pedro Molino band with their great costumes and choreography. Macy’s awarded the Guatemalan contingency the Cultural Appreciation Award for the parade just barely beating out the Bolivians by one vote.  The Hondurans had a float with an energetic singer while the Mexicans had two bands and great costumes including los Chinelos, the dancing kings.  Panama displayed the winner of the pollera contest while marchers displayed their costumes and an incredible band from Panama played to the delight of the crowd. One of the more unusual but thrilling groups came from Paraguay where many ladies balanced glass bottles on their head while moving  down to a push up position in front of Cardinal Dolan. Remarkably, not one bottle fell. The rest of the group dressed in fancy evening attire as though part of the aristocracy in the 19th century.  The parade was closed out by the Peruvians  dancing to flute inspired music.

    

                                    

                                     

                                       

      Rachel and I met up later on close to St. Patrick’s and agreed this was one heck of a show of culture and tradition of the Hispanic community and all countries were well represented. These are the kind of events that sets NYC apart from most other cities in the world. Where else can 18 countries come together and take pride in their heritage. Whether one was from Mexico or Cuba or Chile, the same language is shared and the threads of the yarn that bind us all together were all weaved into a beautiful quilt of humanity. Rachel and I and the other million spectators were glad to wrap ourselves in that quilt and walk away with a feeling of unity and harmony with our fellow-man.

Hasta la proxima vez (Until the next time)…

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