A Cultural Affair of Passion

El Dia del Salvadoreno features diverse musical groups Including Crooked Stilo and Flakiss

By Maclavio Honrado
Published on LatinoLA: August 13, 2004

A Cultural Affair of Passion

Much more than a cultural affair, this Sunday?s El D?a del Salvadore?o at Exposition Park is an affair of passion.

Under the outstretched arms of the Jesus icon that is part of a pilgrimage from San Salvador for this event, is a tremendous intercultural community fiesta that starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday, August 15, and finishes with fireworks around 8 p.m.

It is a multi-cultural celebration, bringing together people from various religions and countries through art, music, social action and passion. Although spiritual in its apex, this fiesta is a celebration of families where respect and friendship are given to the diverse cultures in our communities.

There are political undertones too ? many notable local politicians will join as a sign that political activism is an important avenue to social justice for recent immigrants and people of color.

The diverse program features over a dozen live music groups starting at 11 a.m. The performers include a wide array of music such as: traditional Latino tunes, Meringue, cumbia, political, tropical, Irish, hip-hop and hymns. This year two well-known hip-hop groups, Crooked Stilo (pictured) and Flakiss, will be a part of the program.

More than music, there will also be exceptional poets performing spoken word pieces, dramatic presentations and performances of folkloric ballet troupes from Argentina and El Salvador.

But perhaps the senses that give the most tangible feeling of satisfaction are those of taste and smell: The ones that respond to food. Salvadoran papusas are as great a cross-cultural export as any country could want. Also likely to be sold by community vendors are pastelitos de carne, curtido (pickled or spicy cabbage depending on region), casamiento, and more delights.

With some 50,000 people expected throughout the day, it is sure to be a visual feast as well.

The fiesta is a service on the non-profit community group SANA (the Salvadoran American National Association), which is a project of the Multiethnic Peace and Reconstruction Fund that grew out of the Los Angeles riots. The fiesta has been a study in social success since the first event in 1999.

In that first event, organizers had the heady idea that maybe 200 people would make it successful. Over 1,000 showed up. The blossom was just beginning to bloom. In 2000, the event grew to over 10,000. It jumped to 17,000 in 2001, which, percentage-wise, seemed like a leveling. However, in 2002, the number grew to an estimated 25,000.

But last year the attendance nearly doubled with an estimated 50,000 in attendance. The support for the tradition is passionate and immense. The event is free and whole families come for a day of celebration. It is the largest Salvadoran cultural event in the United States ? well, if you don?t count matches that include Salvadoran national futbol team ? and has been proclaimed a city and state recognized day. El D?a del Salvadore?o itself is a Salvadoran tradition that dates back to the early 1500?s with "La Bajada del Divinio Salvador del Mundo" and "Fiestas Agostinos".

The event can attribute its success directly to the community-minded businesses that are sponsoring the 2004 festival. Cacique and American Airlines generously supporting the event as title sponsors and significant contributions from Verizon, Tapatio, Mission Foods, Goya Foods, Ducal, Banco Cuscatlan, Sigue Corporation, Chase, Citibank, SBC, La Curacao, Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, King Express/Rey Mesa, Southern California Edison and RC Abogados & Notarios.

There are also significant contributions from Albertsons/Sav-On, which will provide health screenings, Universal Care, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Marrow Donor Program, and Access Dental.

Univision Music Group, Fonovisa and Univision Records have made generous contributions in support of the appearance of two of their performers, Crooked Stilo and Flakiss, and media partners such as LatinoLA.com, La Opinion, Univision 34, Telefutura 46, KSFV TV 26, KLVE, Recuerdo, KTNQ, La Nueva, and Super Estrella.

Those interested in experiencing all the varieties and foods of Salvadoran and Central American culture are welcome to this free event. For information, maps, etc., about El D?a del Salvadore?o Festival 2004, go to www.LatinoConsultants.com/SANA.

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