Ancestors Day celebrated in Carmel

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CARMEL – A gathering at the historic Putnam Courthouse, a march along Gleneida Avenue past the statue of Sybil Ludington and a celebration at the Reed Memorial Library in Carmel Saturday highlighted Putnam County’s Ancestors Day celebration.

Christians and Jews gathered side by side for the festivity that was dubbed as a time to remember family and friends who have passed away.

The celebration, however, was not a sad tradition but a festive time to remember and honor the dead with song, dance and storytelling.

Special guests included State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne who played the bagpipes while reflecting on his Irish ancestry.

State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, wearing a kilt, plays the bagpipes

Beliga Rivadeneira, born in Ecuador, teaches folk dancing. Her group, ‘Illusions of My Land,’ performed several selections with members of the troupe adorned in colorful South American costumes.

Nelva Zambrano of Carmel, a first generation Puerto Rican American, who teaches in Brewster, enjoyed her love of music by playing several songs on her guitar.

Charles Cole, an 80-year-old native of Carmel, who was born on the second floor of the building adjacent to the library, reflected on his family’s history and how the Coles helped shape the county seat.

It was Cole’s ancestors in 1875 who sold the water found in Lake Gleneida to New York City.

Those attending gave special thanks to Norma Pereira of Carmel and Reed Memorial Library Director Jeanne Buck for their diligent work that allowed the multi-cultural celebration to continue for the fifth year in Putnam County bringing all religions and ethnic backgrounds together to honor their ancestors.