Hundreds of Newark residents joined city and county officials at the tenth Annual Dominican Heritage Parade and Festival of Essex County Sunday afternoon despite a cloudy day and a threat of rain.
The Parade featured a Queen, Niobes Molina.
The current president Alba Mateo Valentin is one of the original twenty-one founding members of the parade committee that started the annual event in 2003. She said, it’s a proud moment for us to share our culture with the other residence of Newark. All of the original members are still involve in the planning and preparation of the annual parade”.
With music blaring and spirits soaring, thousands of people transformed Bloomfield Avenue into a sea of red, white and blue on Sunday afternoon as the city celebrated its annual Dominican Parade. Jamming on the “Latin Boulevard” near the Roberto Clemente statue, parade-goers danced to the music, snapped photos of the floats and sported whatever they could to proclaim their love of their homeland.
Teenage boys and girls wore bandanas with the Dominican national colors that matched their bright-red lipstick. Girls had Dominican flags draped around their shoulders like capes.
Some wore traditional Dominican hats.The youth showing their inventions, converting old coffee pots into hookah pipes. Many watching the parade wore earrings shaped like Dominican flags. The flag symbolized our culture and our heritage.
The Dominican Flag
The flag is navy blue and scarlet red, angled in alternate quarters so that the blue should be on the top of the mast, separated by a white cross, with a width equal to half the height of each block carrying in its center the coat of arms of the Dominican Republic.
The blue color represents our national “ideals of progress and freedom”, red “the expression of the bloodshed by the heroes of the fatherland”, and the white symbolizes “peace and unity among all Dominicans”. Although for some authors, the meaning of the colors may vary according to one’s appreciation. Dominican Coat of Arms “DIOS, PATRIA Y LIBERTAD” (God, Homeland and Freedom). At the base it must hold a scarlet red ribbon with the words: “REPUBLICA DOMINICANA” (Dominican Republic).
Most important about our culture is our food, said Ms. Valentin. The traditional Dominicans food is Mangu. Mangú side dish served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In Cuba, and parts of Africa it is known as fufu. The word is of African (possibly Bantu) origin. Boiled mashed plantains can be traced back to Africans in the Congo region who came to the island during the height of the slave trade. The original word was something akin to mangusi and referred to almost any root vegetable that was boiled and mashed.
Mangú is made up of boiled green plantains. The plantains are then mashed with the water it has been boiling in. It is topped with sautéed red onions that have been cooked with apple cider vinegar. Fried salami or pork fried cheese, eggs or avocado are also usually added. Mangú can also be called los tres golpes literally “the three hits” meaning mangú with cheese, salami, and eggs and then topped with sautéed onions.
Special thanks to Nelson Valentin photography for the great photos.