Central American Traditions Festivals

Twice, the National Museum of American History has come alive with the vibrant and diverse cultures of Central America and its diasporic communities within the U.S. Each time, the Program in Latino History and Culture organized exciting public programming that featured music, food, and more.

Sept. 15, 2012

To celebrate the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, PLHC organized a family festival with support from the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies. Focused on Central American cultural traditions, the festival featured alfombra making, arts and crafts, coloring books, food and cooking demonstrations, and conversations about immigration. Visitors also enjoyed a diverse range of Central American music, from the traditional chanchona of El Salvador, to Graifuna rhythms, to Rock & Punk. The festival was attended by 17,000 people.

May 21, 2006

The 2006 festival showcased Marimba Linda Xelaju, a Guatemalan performer from Maryland, and Lilo Gonzalez y los de la Mount Pleasant, a Salvadoran band from the District. Local artist Karlisima led young museumgoers in a mural-making project. Other highlights included food demonstrations with Restaurant Associates’ staff, and a conversation and book signing with noted novelist Mario Bencastro and Dr. Ana Patricia Rodriguez from the University of Maryland.