15th Annual Salvadoran Day celebrated in Los Angeles

IMG_0828On a typical afternoon you would see cars driving and people passing through Washington Blvd., getting to wherever they need to go. This past weekend though, Washington Blvd., between Vermont and Hoover was shut down to celebrate Los Angeles’ 15th annual Salvadoran Day or “Dia del Salvadoreño.”

Walking through the blocked streets were people proudly wearing white and blue shirts — reminiscent of the color of the El Salvadorian flag. There were people who even dressed up their dogs in a Salvadoran shirt. “What part of El Salvador are you from” and “do you know this family from…” were common conversations that could be overheard. People young and old celebrated all weekend listening to live performers who played cumbias, reggaeton and more. The carnival rides and the traditional dance performances were some of the favorites and the lines to get traditional foods, such as pupusas, horchata and empanadas, were long.

The weekend kicked off on Friday, Aug. 2, with people having a chance to hear and talk to Mayor Oscar Ortiz of the city of Santa Tecla in E.S., member of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) political party, as he spoke at a local Salvadoran restaurant in South L.A.

During the weekend ALBA petroleum of El Salvador educated people on the upcoming 2014 presidential elections in El Salvador. Salvadoran nationals who are living in other countries and Salvadoran Americans whose parents are from El Salvador can register to vote and participate.

“I liked it so much, the music was on point, all cumbias, everyone was having a good time celebrating their pride, I just love it, such a good time,” said Rocio Yanez, a Salvadoran American whose parents have been in the United States for more than 22 years.

IMG_0831The dates of the festivities here in Los Angeles were chosen to coincide with the August festivities occurring in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, for the week of August 1. The festivities are held in honor of the transfiguration or the descent of the Divine Savior of the World. Here in L.A., groups hold the traditional ceremony of the descent and was a major draw to Salvadorans like Wendy Mendez, who has lived in the U.S. for the past 25 years attended.

“We came for the Divine Savior of the World and also because we have friends who are promoting ALBA’s petroleum,” she said.

Before the 1980’s civil war in El Salvador, immigration of Salvadorans to places like Los Angeles was not common. The El Salvadoran consulate in Los Angeles reported in 2009 that it is estimated that there are about 1.7 million people of Salvadoran descent living in the U.S. and that as many 1 million of those people live in California. This is an event that families come to year after year and having space is important since many people are not able to go back  or have never been to E.S. Salvadoran Day festivities is a way for many to participate in cultural traditions, it creates a space where you can see the pride people have of where they are from and connect to their roots in a place so far from home.

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