Diversity on Display at the Hispanic Day Parade

Women from El Salvador. (Photos by Ana Maria Rodriguez)

Garifuna women from Guatemala.

Colombian kids dancing cumbias.

Nivia Martinez, a Guatemalan and Muslim, said that it was the first time the Hispanic Muslim community was represented at the parade.

Participants representing the Carnival from Barranquilla, Colombia.

Ecuadorean Juan Barreto and daughter Tania Baretto

Hundreds of colorful devils, angels, dancers and floats took over Fifth Avenue on Sunday afternoon Oct. 12 to celebrate the 50th year of New York City’s Hispanic Day Parade.

The annual parade celebrates the culture and traditions of the more than 2 million Hispanic residents in the city, bringing all Spanish speakers together regardless of origin, color and religion.

Nivia Martinez, a Guatemalan and Muslim, said that it was the first time the Hispanic Muslim community was represented at the parade.

“We didn’t know what to expect from the spectators,” she said adding that the response was “very good, very welcoming, people were shouting and clapping, and some people were even shouting As-salaam alaykum,” she said, explaining that the Arabic phrase means “peace be upon you.”

Martinez said that the Hispanic Muslim community is a “big group” in New York City, adding that she was proud to participate in the parade to share her beliefs with her Hispanic community.

On the corner of 47th Street and Fifth Avenue Nuyorican Yvonne Colon, dressed in a red Peruvian poncho, was waiting excitedly for her caravan to start marching. Her Peruvian friend invited her to the parade.

“I thought what about a Puerto Rican dressed as a Peruvian… Why not?!” said Colon with a smile while hugging her friend. She said that the parade is the place to show that “we are all one, we are Latinos and we are all united.”

Her friend Soraida Sanchez, originally from Peru, said that the parade is an opportunity to show “your roots, be proud of it and learn from other cultures.”

While many adults, dressed in colorful outfits, marched from 44th Street to 67th Street on Fifth Avenue, some kids were also seen marching proudly wearing their country’s typical outfits.

“It is an honor to represent my country,” said Maria Dolores Maripangui, a 9-year-old Chilean who flew for more than 20 hours from Curicó, Chile, to participate in the parade.

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