What Is the National Puerto Rican Day Parade?

Get ready to taste Puerto Rican culture in New York City on the second weekend of June every year. Where could you find a better place on earth to celebrate Puerto Rican heritage that amongst NewYoricans?

The parade continues to have tremendous attendance, now more than ever because of the Supreme Court judge Puerto Rican Sonia Sotomayor. She is an influential figure who grew up in the projects in the Bronx NY, managed to attend Princeton and Yale and became one of the most successful Hispanic women to date in the judicial field in the U.S.


National Puerto Rican Day Parade
by Oquendo


Puerto Rican Day Parade
by Oquendo

The Puerto Rican Day Parade attracts many celebrities and political figures. In the past, personalities like Jennifer Lopez, Hillary Clinton, Daddy Yankee, etc. marched in the parade.

The parade is one of the most concurred in the country with about 2 million attendees per year. Metropolitan Spanish television stations show the parade in the tri-state area as well as other places around the world via satellite reaching very high ratings.

Don’t expect to see only Boricuas. There will be plenty of Hispanics I can assure you, as well as tourists. Be prepared to eat Latino style, dance salsa, bachata, merengue, etc, or to enjoy by simply watching the parade that starts on Fifth Avenue on 44th Street and goes up to 86th Street.

How It All Started

The parade started in 1958 when it replaced the Hispanic Parade. Its name was the Puerto Rican Parade, and in 1995 the parade incorporated as the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.

The parade was born in “El Barrio” in Manhattan, NY when several Puerto Rican personalities gathered to celebrate their Puerto Rican heritage by creating the Hispanic Parade.

The Parade on 5th Avenue, 2008

The Parade on 5th Avenue, 2008
Picture by: Oquendo

The Parade Today

Many people know we celebrate the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on the second week of June, but the celebration encompasses much more.

The entire event includes a list of activities that start on April and run mainly on the weekends throughout Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.

How do we enjoy Boricua heritage and their contributions to the U.S.? Simple, through musical productions, plays, health events, Boricua games, art exhibits, cultural festivals in “El Barrio” or the 5 boroughs, a beauty pageant competition and the famous National Puerto Rican Day Parade in the City of New York and throughout the United States.

The parade elects its queen through a yearly competition where many “bellezas Latinas” compete for the crown. The winner gets her own float in the parade and a trip to Puerto Rico to represent the Puerto Rican woman in the U.S.

Every year the parade honors a Puerto Rican personality who has contributed or made a positive impact on the American culture by naming them “International Grand Marshall” of the parade.

It is a wonderful experience listening to many Boricuas singing at unison “Que Bonita Bandera” and “Yo soy Boricua, Pa que tu lo sepa.”

Knowing more about “Puerto Rican New Yorkers” is another way to learn about your heritage and culture. Here is a documentary to give a better idea of who are the Newyoricans. My other suggestion is the downloadable book of Esmeralda, a puerto Rican who had her childhood there and her teen and adult years in the U.S.

Wanting to Know More About Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rico?

Remember the parade is just the last event of a series of activities honoring Puerto Rican heritage,
therefore check out the official schedule several months before the parade takes place at http://www.nationalpuertoricandayparade.org.

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