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What Is a Latin Festival?

Emily Daw
Emily Daw

A Latin festival is an event that celebrates the history and culture of Latino people, especially those living in the United States. It is one of the most common types of cultural festivals in the US. They are often held annually, and popular events at these festivals include music, dance, food and shopping. Since Latino-American culture is so diverse, no two Latin festivals are exactly the same, but they are nearly always bright, cheerful, noisy events.

As of the 2010 Census, about 16% of the population in the US identified as Hispanic or Latino, meaning that they trace their origins to a Spanish-speaking country. Most, but by no means all, Hispanics in the US are from Mexico. Latin festivals have developed in areas of the US with especially high concentrations of Hispanic people as a way to commemorate their various cultures. These include many areas in the South as well as major cities across the country.

Latin festivals often feature events like dancing.
Latin festivals often feature events like dancing.

Many of the events at a Latin festival celebrate contemporary Latin American culture. Food from Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, and other Latin American countries may be served. Music at a Latin festival may include contemporary Spanish popular music, either live or provided by a D.J.

Other aspects of a Latin festival, on the other hand, may honor more traditional or even ancient cultural traditions. Participants may dress in traditional costumes, such as bright, floor-length dresses that may no longer be commonly worn in their country of origin, but still form a part of Latino heritage. Going even farther back, some festivals feature pre-Columbian art. Professional or amateur dancers, for instance, might recreate ritual dances from the Aztec empire and perform them to authentic Aztec music.

Latin festivals often rent space to food and craft vendors. Food vendors most often sell cuisine from their home country, but sometimes more American fare, such as hamburgers and hotdogs, is also served. Local artisans sell authentic, homemade crafts and sometimes teach simple crafts to children for a small fee.

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    • Latin festivals often feature events like dancing.
      By: Samo Trebizan
      Latin festivals often feature events like dancing.