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La Fraternidad Artistica y Cultural Folklórica Salay Tukuypaj Filial USA will be marching in Saturday's parade.
La Fraternidad Artistica y Cultural Folklórica Salay Tukuypaj Filial USA will be marching in Saturday's parade. (Photo by George Newcomb courtesy of Nuestras Raíces Inc.)

Surely you’ve heard of Baltimore’s St. Patrick Parade, Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, or Greek Independence Day Parade. But have you heard of the parade of Latinx Nations? Probably not, because it hasn’t happened yet.

For the first time in Baltimore’s history, you’ll be able to celebrate — in parade form — the rich and diverse cultures that makeup Baltimore’s Latinx community. And if you ever needed a reason to eat endless amounts of tacos, pupusas, and tostones all in one day; the community event after the parade is the place to do it. Read the answers to these questions you didn’t think to ask because you stopped reading at “tacos.”

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So what exactly is the Parade of Latinx Nations?

The Parade of Latinx Nations or Desfile de Naciones Latinas is a new event in Baltimore that celebrates the gastronomy, art, music, and traditional regalia of different Latin American countries and their respective indigenous histories.

Nuestra Raíces Inc les presentamos oficialmente el video de promoción de nuestro primer Desfile de Naciones Latinas 2019...

Posted by Nuestras Raíces Inc. on Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Latinx?

Latina, Latino or the gender-inclusive term Latinx, are the most popular terms used among people living in the U.S. with Latin American origins (Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America), says Ernesto Castañeda, a social scientist at American University.

The terms focus on geographic location unlike Hispanic, which was first introduced in the 1970 U.S. Census and is now used as a blanket term to describe people with origins in majority Spanish-speaking countries. Still, it’s difficult to encompass the multicultural and ethnically diverse identities of people from these regions into one umbrella term because of Latin America’s complex history that intersects with indigenous people, European colonization, African slavery, and global immigration patterns. That’s why Angelo Solera and other community leaders wanted to educate the public on what it means to be Latinx through the parade and their non-profit, Nuestras Raices, Inc.

Who is Nuestras Raices and why did they put together the parade?

Solera and the 15 members that make up the non-profit want people to have a better understanding of who the Latinx community is.

“There are 52 million of us who are legal U.S. citizens…We are doctors, lawyers, musicians, artists and professionals, business people and parents. But it’s never really talked about,” said Solera.

So when exactly is this parade happening?

The parade kicks off Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. at Eastern Avenue and Haven Street and will head westbound on Eastern Avenue until 3:30 p.m. There will then be a cultural celebration in Patterson Park that goes until 6 p.m.

What should I expect at the parade?

The parade will feature brightly decorated floats, the guitars, and trumpets of mariachi bands, women men and children dressed in traditional clothing performing folkloric regional dances. Local schools and marching bands, businesses, cultural organizations, and over 50 rodeo horses will also take part.

You won’t want to miss the “Mi’totiliztli” ritual, also known as the Aztec dance, performed by Nuevo Amanecer from Cockeysville, Maryland. The dancers will chant and move to the beating of wooden drums while wearing traditional outfits consisting of colorful embroidery, animal skins, headdresses, or penachos, decorated with bird feathers. Adding to the visually mesmerizing dance are the dancers’ shoes adorned with shells and seed pods which also serve as a musical instrument.

What happens after the parade?

The end of the parade route will be at Linwood and Eastern Ave. at the Pulaski Monument. There you will encounter about 30 local artists and vendors. Don’t miss the brightly-colored beadwork of Macaro Matias Carillo, a Huichol artist, and shaman from the indigenous community of Nayarit Mexico.

What should I eat?

Indulge in authentic foods and snacks from Latin America like Mexican esquite, pollo guisado con tostones from the Dominican Republic, Peruvian ceviche, pernil and arroz con gandules from Puerto Rico and more. You won’t be able to resist the smells of fried croquetas, the sizzling carne asada, and boiling tamales. And for dessert, treat yourself to Ecuadorian sweets, a sugary fried churro, or soft and spongy pan dulce.

Where can I get more information?

Visit the Nuestras Raíces Facebook page for a full list of schools, marching bands, performers, and businesses taking part in the parade.

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