The Salvadoran-American Day Festival in the Village of Hempstead in Long Island occurs every September to mark the independence of El Salvador. As descendants of a country commonly associated with war and gangs, the word independence means a lot to Salvadorans and they celebrate this holiday with traditional music, food, and dancing. It is a huge source of pride for Salvadoran-Americans as they gather for the parade from near and far. In Long Island, Salvadorans are the largest immigrant group. According to 2000 census statistics, they made up 20.5% of Latinos in both counties, followed by Puerto Ricans. This is why the parade is held in Hempstead, also known as “Little El Salvador.”
Most well known for the Pupusa, Salvadorans are proud of their trademark food item. Pupusa’s are corn flour or rice flour tortilla, traditionally stuffed with cheese, chicharron (cooked pork meat ground to paste), refried beans, and/or loroco (a vine flower pub native to Central America).
Every second Sunday of November, a National Day of the Pupusas is celebrated throughout El Salvador. Pupusas is the “national plate” in El Salvador and has a big part in the country’s culture. Several events are held throughout the country with the aim of promoting the consumption, production, and export of the national plate. There are activities such as the “Pupusas Eating Contest” and recognition is given for the best sellers and to those who devote their time in preparing the traditional dish of El Salvador. Click here for information about the national celebration of pupusas.
Try this pupusa recipe!!!
Salvadoran music shows cultural and religious influences, especially Roman Catholic influences. Although religious songs are traditional in El Salvador, Salvadorans in the US have taken to listening more American popular culture music.
In addition, from El Salvador, many dances remain in the culture as representations of their history and culture. Such examples include The Dance of Chapetones, The Dance of The Lance, and The Dance of The Wild Pig. In The Dance of Chapetones twelve men are dressed in shoes and tuxedos and one woman is in white with a headdress who symbolizes the queen. It mimics the style of the Spaniards with very robust and lazy moves according to the music. Click here to see an example.
Sports are another source of pride for Salvadorans. In fact, in El Salvador, they are the main source of entertainment. There, people love water sports but here in New York, Salvadoran-Americans are most fond of soccer and are adamant supporters of their team abroad.