Westchester Paraguayan Community Celebrates 208th Independence Day

Ñandutí (Paraguayan embroidered lace exhibition) at White Plains Library. (Photo via Westchester Hispano)

The Paraguayan community in Westchester is celebrating the country’s independence day with several cultural and artistic events and the premiere of the movie “La Chiperita,” in the Guarani and Spanish languages.

The kick-off of events celebrating the liberation on May 14 and 15 in 1811 was held at the White Plains Library on May 2, with the inauguration of an exhibition of arts and crafts, photography, handmade textiles and paintings that will remain open to the public until May 24, at 100 Martine Ave., White Plains.

ArtsWestchester is the main organizer of the Paraguayan programs taking place across the county, along with the Consulate General of Paraguay in New York and the New York Paraguayan Soccer Association.

“We are supporting those celebrations because Westchester has one of the biggest Paraguayan communities in the whole country. We are also close to the Paraguayans living in Queens and New Jersey, who want to pass on their culture and make it visible for the whole population. Although we are the organizers, Paraguayan local groups are instrumental in the realization of this cultural project,” said Aaron Paige, director of folk arts at ArtsWestchester.

The activities will be followed by the international premiere of “La Chiperita: Por el Camino,” with English subtitles, on Thursday May 23 at Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Ln., Mamaroneck, NY 10543, at 7 p.m.

The movie will be presented by filmmaker Hugo Cataldo Barudi. His film is about Virgilia, a young “chipa” vendor who is in love with her childhood friend Walter but has to forget about her romantic prospect as the family stops getting remittances from her brother in Spain and she needs to work to support her household.

Before the screening, there will be traditional Paraguayan music, as well as a demonstration and tasting of “chipa,” ancestral Guarani bread made with cassava and cheese.

Ambassador Juan Alfredo Buffa Ramírez said he was grateful to ArtsWestchester for supporting Paraguayan and Latino American culture.

(…) “In Westchester there are around 4,000 or 5,000 Paraguayans, mainly in White Plains, but also in Mamaroneck, Mount Vernon and New Rochelle,” said Miguel Zaracho, general coordinator of the New York Paraguayan Soccer Association.

The festivities will wrap up with the Festival Anual de Arte y Cultura Paraguaya (Annual Festival of Paraguayan Art and Culture), which will include traditional harp music, Paraguayan polka, Guarani singing and dancing, and tastings of tereré (frozen mate herb), chipas and Paraguayan soup on May 31 from 7 to 10 p.m. at ArtsWestchester, 31 Mamaroneck Ave., 1st floor, White Plains. Free entry.

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