Hispanic pride will be on display this Sunday, when the 52nd annual Hispanic Day Parade marches up Fifth Avenue.
The parade celebrates the solidarity of New York City’s Hispanic population, which totals nearly 2.5 million, more than any other city in the United States.
Upward of 1 million spectators are expected to attend the cultural celebration, which includes representation from Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America, as well as the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Spain.
The European country in particular plans to have a larger presence than usual at this year’s parade to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, the Spanish writer who authored “Don Quixote,” considered to be the first modern novel.
“Everybody in school in all these countries studied Cervantes and ‘Don Quixote’ in the same way,” said Pepe Navajas, coordinator of the parade’s Spanish delegation for La Nacional–Spanish Benevolent Society. “When you learn Spanish writing, everything is ‘Don Quixote.’ It’s the most important book in the Spanish culture.”
La Nacional, which was started in 1868 in what was once Manhattan’s “Little Spain,” helped found the parade more than 50 years ago, too. It will be one of more than 50 groups participating in Sunday’s affair and will lead the 21 participating countries, territories and nations up Fifth Avenue.
To mark the anniversary, there will be Andy Warhol-esque paintings of Cervantes by Spanish artist Curro Leyton carried by marchers.
“It’s the biggest showcase that we have on Fifth Avenue,” said La Nacional’s Michelle Miron, who is queen of the Spanish delegation. “They’re celebrating Cervantes’ death around the world, we wanted to bring it to the parade.”
The Spanish delegation is also planning to have flamenco dancers, as well as a tuna — a group of musicians who perform serenades while dressed in 13th-century garb. La Nacional is bringing more than 70 performers from Spain who will be singing and playing mandolins, lutes and tambourines.
“It’s going to be a sight,” Miron said of the tuna.
More than 4,000 people are expected to march in the parade, which will feature floats, live music, dance, traditional dress and more.
The parade falls near the end of National Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual celebration that runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.