Chicago celebrates Puerto Rican culture with parade, festival


Salsa, merengue and reggaeton audio blasted from cars driving close to Humboldt Park Saturday afternoon as pink, white and blue flags with a one star blew in the breeze, some out of automobile windows and sunroofs and other individuals held by men and women on the sidewalk.

In close proximity to the south stop of Humboldt Park, on West Division Street and North California Avenue, persons lined up alongside the street, a lot of wearing Puerto Rican flag shirts or attire as they viewed the 44th Annual Puerto Rican People’s Day Parade access its end. Men and women shouted, waved and danced as cars and trucks, bicyclists and persons passed by, blasting new music and waving much more flags.

The Puerto Rican Competition started off Thursday and operates through Sunday, with reside songs and carnival rides in a shut off part of the southeast corner of Humboldt Park. On Saturday afternoon, the parade additional to the festivities as Puerto Ricans in Chicago exhibited their pleasure and joy in their heritage.

Sellers bought meals like savory and sweet empanadas, papas rellenos — potato balls stuffed with seasoned ground beef — tostones, pinchos — grilled pork or rooster skewers with onion, bell pepper and tomato — and jugo de parcha or passion fruit juice. Other vendors together the park sold flags, T-shirts, hats, and other accessories, most with the Puerto Rican flag or its colours.

Dasani Saldana, 13, whose family is from Puerto Rico, wrapped a huge Puerto Rican flag about her back like a cape as she viewed the parade with her good friend, her mother and her mom’s good friend. It was her 3rd parade, but the next 1 she remembers for the reason that she was a infant when her mom took her to her very first parade, Saldana said.

She stated she enjoys the food, hearing her Spanish language and viewing other Puerto Ricans in her local community celebrating their culture jointly at the Puerto Rican Pageant and parade.

“We can exhibit wherever we are from,” Saldana stated. “What Puerto Rico is about.”

Following the parade, on a household street south of the park, Edras Andujar grilled pork bichos to sell, as people sat all over him on garden chars, speaking and ingesting. Persons danced alongside to merengue waiting around for the food stuff to complete cooking.

Jalesa Trotman took her daughter and nieces to the parade. It was her next time going to the competition, a hassle-free strolling distance from her residence, she claimed.

“We love it due to the fact the community just comes out and you see most people together and getting a excellent time. It is remarkable,” Trotman mentioned. “Compared to all the terrible stuff you hear about Chicago, it’s like one big unity celebration for everyone.”

Trotman’s grandparents are Puerto Rican and Mexican, and whilst she hasn’t been to the island yet, she hopes to visit Puerto Rico someday. Heading to the competition, she explained feels welcome into her society, and sees it as an option to train her daughter about their heritage and track record.

She mentioned obtaining her daughter and nieces occur out and see and enjoy with other youngsters that seem like them and share their culture is a excellent way for them to understand about them selves.

“I experience like young ones understand by practical experience,” she claimed. “So in get for them to recognize what they are and who they’re about and what they can possibly do with their life, they have to be uncovered to it.”

Iris Bellido moved to the U.S. from Puerto Rico when she was 1, and was lifted in Humboldt Park. She’s absent to the festival virtually each individual year given that she was a child, she reported.

“Thank God that finally COVID is around and we were being in a position to celebrate it and truly feel back to standard,” she stated. “And rejoice it the way we ordinarily do. So that was a aid.”

As she waited in line to get into the competition, Bellido stated the several matters she enjoys about the festival and about her lifestyle — the food items, how persons gown, the colours, the flag, the music, especially bomba y plena.

Bomba and Plena are classic new music designs that reflect the African heritage of Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Ricans are loud men and women that they appreciate audio and they like to dance,” Bellido stated with a giggle. “And…the women are recognised for their large butt and curly hair. And they just appreciate to have enjoyment, pay attention to music, dance. And take in Puerto Rican food stuff.”

Carmen Malave was at the parade with her youngest daughter, Heather Rodriguez and her 3 granddaughters, Ruby, 7, Naya, 8, and Sonie, 9. All three ladies wore Puerto Rican flag attire.

Malave reported she made use of to deliver her personal three children to the parade when they had been more youthful.

“Growing up in Humboldt Park, remaining a single mom, boosting a few young ones, it’s not uncomplicated,” she claimed. “But, you know, I did it and even although they’re more mature I’m nevertheless there.”

Now she’s making the most of seeing them begin their possess people and looking at them share the lifestyle with their children.

It experienced been a while because they had participated in the festivities, as they averted some of the violence in the space, Rodriguez explained, as her daughter Ruby hugged her.

“This is her first time listed here, in fact,” Rodriguez stated of her daughter. “That’s why I needed to provide her, just to encounter her culture, get a very little know-how of wherever she comes from. She’s loving it. She cannot prevent dancing.”

Editor’s note: An previously version of this tale employed the incorrect word in Spanish for grilled skewers of meat. The proper term is pinchos.


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Jacqueline M. Faulkner

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