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Calendar of Ethnic Festivals

CELEBRATIONS • September

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Brazilian Street Festival
Manhattan
Early September
“Little Brasil,” West 46th Street, Madison to Seventh Avenues

The beat of the samba takes over 46th Street in celebration of Brazilian Independence Day. Singers and musicians from Brasil perform the bossa nova on stage, but the people dancing in the street are the real show. Touted as “the greatest Brazilian ‘happening’ abroad,” this festival draws a crowd of nearly 1 million people who share a love of music and good times.

For more information: Brazilian American Cultural Center
http://www.brazilianday.com/english/home.html

last update: 9/2008


West Indian American Day Carnival
Brooklyn
Early September
Eastern Parkway, near the Brooklyn Museum

One of the best known and loved parades in the city, this dramatic day attracts 3 million spectators. Over 100 steel-drum bands begin arranging music and choosing their costume theme months in advance, before assembling to recruit their dancers for the parade. Each alliance of band and dancers creates a tableau of historic or mythical characters. The carefully researched and meticulously detailed costumes are among the most ornate in any New York parade. Past performances have included American Indians and the history of England. As one long-time organizer describes the event, “Like a storm, it builds for months, until the day when everyone comes together and the sweet calypso music drives you to dance.” A children’s carnival and parade and performances by the parade bands take place at the Brooklyn Museum prior to the main event.

For more information: West Indian American Day Carnival Association, 718-467-1797
http://www.wiadca.com

last update: 9/2008


Ganesha Chathurti Celebration and Procession
Queens
Early September
Flushing, begins at 45-57 Browne Street

For nine days prior to the procession day, the Hindu temple at Browne Street is filled with prayer and decorative offerings for the celebration of Ganesha, with the shrines covered with ceremonial gifts of fruit, pearls, or flowers. Lighting of the sacred fire and a ritual bathing are performed by the priest prior to the Rathothsav, where the idol is taken outside to be carried by chariot in a procession around the temple. The idol has four arms and an elephant’s face, and is believed to show the appearance of God. Its celebration is one of the most important in the Asian Indian year, as a time of festivity, prayer, and Indian identity.

For more information: Hindu Temple Society of North America, 718-460-8484, www.nyganeshtemple.org

last update: 9/2008


Great Irish Fair
Brooklyn
Third weekend in September
Keyspan Ballpark, Coney Island, New York

For two days in September, Irish culture is on display from costumed children performing folkloric dances, to 150 vendors of Irish goods, to 7 stages of non-stop contemporary and traditional Irish music. The Fair is a showcase for “anything Irish,” and includes some unusual offerings. Exhibition games of camoguie, women’s football, and children’s hurling offer a glimpse into Irish sporting traditions. Curroaghs, traditional Irish boats, are built on site on Saturday, and race in Sheepshead Bay on Sunday. Restaurants set up large tents, where families gather at what has come to be a giant reunion for the tri-state Irish-American community. Each day begins with a mass.

For more information: www.gifnyc.com, 917-612-8198

last update: 9/2008


Puerto Rican Festival
Brooklyn
Early August and Late September
Graham Ave, Brooklyn

This parade and festival, held annually on two separate days in August and September, celebrates the culture and people of Puerto Rico. In August, the parade fills the streets of Brooklyn with spectators clad in red, white and blue and proudly carrying the Puerto Rican flag. The second day-long festival is held at Graham Ave and Debevoice St, from 9 am to 8pm.

For more information: Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival of NY, Inc., 718-455-3907
http://www.PuertoRicoDayParadeofNY.com

last update: 9/2008


Festa San Gennaro
Manhattan
Two weeks in mid-September
Little Italy, Mulberry Street and area

Every Italian village has a festa which celebrates its own saint’s day. The Feast of San Gennaro is New York’s best known. The Statue of San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples, is paraded through the streets of Little Italy and into the Church of the Most Precious Blood on Baxter Street. The most famous attraction, however, is the food. More than 300 vendors set up stands along Mulberry and other Little Italy streets. Between the stands selling sausage heros and other Italian fare, Chinese, Greek and Irish vendors dish out their native cuisines.

For more information: San Gennaro Society, www.sangennaro.org

last update: 9/2008


African-American Day Parade
Manhattan
September 21, 2008, 1 pm
Harlem, from 111th St and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd to 142nd St

The largest black parade in America, the African-American Day Parade unites African Americans in celebration of common history and current achievements by African people in America. The parade highlights selected Grand Marshals, African American celebrities and leaders as well as organizations dedicated to African culture. The parade draws approximately 900,000 viewers to Harlem each year.

For more information: African American Day Parade, Inc., 212-348-3080
www.africanamericandayparade.org/

last update: 9/2008


German-American Steuben Parade
Manhattan
3rd Saturday in September, noon
Fifth Avenue, from 64th to 86th Streets

The parade is named after Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Steuben, a Prussian general under Frederick the Great. In 1777, Steuben joined General George Washington in a task to turn a bunch of patriotic farm boys into what became the Continental Army.

In the largest observance of Germanic heritage in the world, a few dozen organizations from Europe and a few hundred from across the U.S. participate. American high school marching bands mix with German Oompah bands, and a spectacular display of floats dramatize German contributions to American history, ranging from Albert Einstein to potato salad. A version of Munich’s famous October Fest is held in Central Park at 82nd Street after the parade, at 2 p.m

For more information: German-American Steuben Parade Committee of New York, 516/239-0741
www.germanparadenyc.org/

last update: 9/2008


Ragamuffin Parade
Brooklyn
Late September/early October, 1 pm
Bayridge, Third Avenue, up from 70th Street

The imaginations of 3,000 children are on display in the costumes they create for this unique freestyle parade. High school marching bands provide a parade tempo and children of all ages take part from toddlers in strollers to teenagers on skates, from school groups to families. Every child receives a gift, and prizes are awarded to the best homemade costumes. The parade kicks off the next day’s Third Avenue Festival.

last update: 9/2008


United Muslim Day Parade
Manhattan
Last Sunday in September
Begins at 41st and Madison Ave., ends at 23rd and Madison

The annual Muslim Day Parade began in 1985 and brings together communities of various ethnic and religious groups to promote a better understanding of Islam and to foster interfaith cooperation between Muslim and all other religious/community groups. All are invited to participate in this global event replete with floats, banners and placards that contain universal messages of peace, unity and justice.

For more information: Muslim Foundation of America, Inc. 718-777-5563

last update: 9/2008


Korean Harvest & Folklore Festival
Queens
Third Saturday in September
10 am – 6 pm
Flushing Meadows/Corona Park

This event celebrates Choo-Seok, Autumn moon, a traditional Korean festival of harvest and thanksgiving. Tented restaurants and food vendors offer an array of Korean cuisine. Brilliant banners fly high above Flushing Meadows Park, and the traditional dress worn by many people fills the park with color. Dances are performed throughout the day, among them traditional farmer, fan, and circle dances. American and Korean athletics, as well as folk and children’s games, take over the open spaces.

last update: 9/2008


Tibetan Festival
Staten Island
September 20, 2008
12 pm – 5pm
Tibetan Museum, 338 Lighthouse Avenue, Staten Island

Tibetan tea, flavored with butter and salt, and Momo, Tibetan dumplings, are just two of the authentic foods found at this demonstration of the Himalayan culture of Tibet. A craft bazaar, fortune telling, and Asian folk tales are found inside the Museum and throughout its charming garden. Chants by monks from the Kalmuck Monastery in New Jersey are performed throughout the day. Nominal admission is charged.

For more information: Tibetan Museum, 718-987-3500, www.tibetanmuseum.org

last update: 9/2008

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