Celebrating Mexican Culture in Sunset Park

By Victoria Moran Garcia

Sunset Park is a neighborhood in Brooklyn on the edge of the East River overlooking the Statue of Liberty and New Jersey. The neighborhood is predominantly Latino and Asian. Every Sunday at Sunset Park — the public park the neighborhood is named after — there is an event celebrating and promoting Mexican culture.

Plaza Tonatiuh, named after the Aztec sun God, is a grassroots movement organized by Mexicanos Unidos whose mission is “To develop a critical, collective social consciousness for the Mexican community.”

There are over 45 vendors who come out rain or shine every Sunday from March to October. This specific tent with a banner that translates to English as “Liberty, Bread, and Dignity!” sells a variety of tamales and juices. They also sell glass cups with designs printed on them.

La Plaza not only sells food but also common household items and accessories. These are handmade bows that come in multiple colors and styles. They are typically worn by little girls daily. You will often see the red, green, or white, ones on a girl’s head when she is dressed in traditional Mexican clothes.

These are “Quita Pena Muñequitas” often called “Worry Dolls” in English. However, it directly translates to little dolls that take away worries. These dolls are present within Guatemalan and Mexican culture. They originate from a Mayan legend where Ixmucane, sometimes portrayed as a Mayan Princess, other times as the Sun Gods daughter, was given the gift of solving any human problem by the Sun God. In Mayan tradition children who have trouble sleeping will tell their worries to the dolls and sleep with them under their pillow. When they wake up in the morning all their worries would be gone because the dolls took away their worries.

Here there are numerous hats and masks available. Club America, the team that represents Mexico City is the team most represented on the table. There are also Lucha Libre Masks. Lucha Libre began in Mexico in 1863 but did not become popular until the early 1900s. The sport became popular due to the colorful masks the wrestlers created that represented their family and its traditions and beliefs. The masks transformed an ordinary man into a fearless warrior.

Tacos were eaten in Mexico long before the colonization of Mexico. It is a staple meal that provides plenty of nutrients and energy thanks to the diverse meat put into tacos and the vegetables eaten with it.

Sunset Park is a neighborhood with a rich culture with people who come together to support each other. Whether it be protests or parties, the people show up for each other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *