Dia del Indio

Traditional Dance


Primary Language- English

Secondary Language- Spanish

Occupation- Student at LA Cal State

Residence- Los Angeles

Date of Performance- 4/19/16

My dad is from Salvador and has a dance tradition his people do every year. It is called Dia del Indio where a bunch of people get together and dance. It basically the same thing as a festival because they have a lot of food, games, and dances. Everybody dresses up as an indian, the girls wear big colorful dresses that reach their feet, men wear shirts with shapes as a design, their shoes are made out of thick rubber, and they have straw hats. The point of the festival is to coronate the new queen of the region in Salvador. She represents the state and has to show her people that she is more than just a pretty face. The tradition is repeated every year and ends with the queen dancing with the king.

Anderson’s father told him about this dance when his father was looking at videos of the dance. He was intrigued and wanted to know what it was about. His father told him about the tradition and that he used to go to many festivals while he was in Salvador. Anderson has never been to Salvador but he has learned quite a bit from his parents. He likes hearing about the traditional dance because it is strange and interesting to hear since his father and mother have lived through it while has lived through something completely different.

When performing the dance or attending the festival, you have to be wearing the correct attire which consist of big dresses for girls and straw hats and rubber shoes for men. If you do not wear the correct clothes, people will think you are weird or disrespecting the day.

I always find these types of traditions immensely interesting because it’s fascinating to see how a dance or ritual can cement something sacred. Although the salvadorians dress up as Indians, according to some of my high school peers, they also have a similar dance but it is used to increase their chances of having rain for their agriculture. While one dance is used to ask a god for rain for their plants, another is used to coronate the next queen of a region. Anderson has no idea how to actually perform the dance and has never seen it in person but still knows the meaning behind it and can recognize it if he ever saw it. Chances are he will not pass it on to his children because he might never see the need or want to, his parents might end up educating them about it since almost anyone who is from Salvador knows about Dia del Indio.