WNY Hispanic community spreads holiday cheer along Niagara Street

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BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – The Hispanic community in Western New York is getting into the holiday spirit with its traditional parranda and Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY organizes the event each year, which showcases Hispanic and Latin culture.

“Today they’re doing the Hispanic Heritage Parranda. So parranda is basically Christmas caroling but in Spanish, Puerto Ricans do it a lot, they visit house to house. So here they’re doing the same concept but local stores here on Niagara street,” Mayra Colon, who owns Healthy Rican.

“This is the Hispanic heritage district and for all Hispanics, the Christmas season is very important,” said Esmeralda Sierra, who’s the president of the Hispanic Heritage Council. “We start right after Thanksgiving Day and we go after Three Kings’ Day which is in January.”

Three Kings’ Day is a Hispanic tradition. During Saturday’s celebration near the corner of Hudson and Niagara streets people could learn more about it.

“It sheds some knowledge on those who don’t know about it or even the kids whose families aren’t really exercising it, because we’re used to being in the United States and traditions are totally different,” said Dalia Jones, who owns Beyond Big Entertainment.

For the first time this celebration included local vendors, each one representing the culture. Mayra Colon, who owns Healthy Rican says she started her own business during the pandemic of making healthy versions of spices used in Puerto Rican cuisine, including sofrito and Sazón.

“I love it because it kind of represents us as the Hispanic Latin community here in Buffalo,” she said about Saturday’s event.

“I think it’s very important that we’re finally highlighting the importance of Christmas and the different traditions that the Hispanic community has,” Jones said. “So I’m excited about that, I’m excited about the knowledge that the kids can get from it and the fact that vendors are able to be out here is even better because it give small businesses the opportunity to showcase what they have and who they are.”

The corner of Niagara and Hudson Streets is set to be the future site of the Hispanic Heritage Culture Institute.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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