Three Kings Day parade fills East Harlem with the spirit of Latin America

Three Kings Day parade fills East Harlem with the spirit of Latin America

East Harlem turned a dance flooring for the annual Three Kings Day parade introduced by El Museo del Barrio, as hundreds took to the streets on Friday to have a good time for the first time in three years.

Main the parade was Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was flanked by all of the festivities’ signature fixtures. Dancers, musicians, puppets and even reside camels flooded the street behind her as the procession snaked by El Barrio.

For hundreds of New Yorkers of Latin American and Caribbean descent who apply Christianity and Catholicism, Three Kings Day — or El Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos — is the final hurrah for Christmastime. As the title implies, it commemorates the biblical day when three clever males introduced items to the child Jesus. Throughout Latin America and its diaspora, that interprets to items for the little ones and lots of partying amongst the adults.

Youngsters generally depart grass out for the camels that the three kings rode in on, in change for items. In different cultures, youngsters depart their footwear out for the same motive. It is a second, Latin American Christmas.

El Museo’s Three Kings Day celebration is inextricably linked to its roots as a Puerto Rican cultural hub. Large papier-mâché puppets characterize every of the three clever males – Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar – and are impressed by the tradition of the Indigenous individuals of the Caribbean islands. All through the festivities, revelers wave Puerto Rican flags, sing typical vacation carols from the island, and play güiros and accordions for hours on finish.

El Museo selected a psychological well being theme for the celebration’s return to the neighborhood. The ceremonies honored New Yorkers who’ve pushed the area ahead. Melanie Santos, a holistic wellness educator from Brooklyn, was amongst the many honorees. Wrapped in the heavy velvet of her parade costume, she walked alongside her daughter, Ava, and her husband.

In Santos’ thoughts, psychological well being and celebration are intimately linked, particularly given the still-looming specter of COVID-19. She spent a lot of the pandemic main psychological well being workshops and guaranteeing the group discovered methods to “hold each other during a time that was so very, very difficult.”

“This almost feels like a graduation of sorts, being able to be with everybody in one room,” Santos stated.

The parade is a feast of sights and sounds for the many youngsters marching in it or watching from the sidelines. And in the thoughts of Sharon Moreno, a performer with the dance troupe Fruto Ancestral, childlike glee is what it is all about.

“It makes me feel like a kid again,” Moreno stated whereas dancing in the parade. A close-by crowd of elementary college college students instantly broke out into cheers.

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