2019 Egg Rolls, Egg Creams & Empanadas Festival

Celebrate the cultural diversity of the Lower East Side/Chinatown neighborhood! Based out of the landmark Eldridge Street Synagogue, this neighborhood festival spills out onto the street with a multitude of Jewish, Chinese and Puerto Rican tastes, traditions, sights, and sounds.

About the Festival

The Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas Festival is the Museum at Eldridge Street’s signature event. Started in 2000, the festival is a celebration of the diverse cultures that make up our Lower East Side/Chinatown community. Along with neighborhood partners, the festival celebrates the folklife of Eastern European Jewish, Chinese, and Puerto Rican communities in this corner of New York City through music, dance, crafts, ritual practices, foodways, and other creative expressions. Our festival is a place of immersive learning, providing a meaningful appreciation of difference and shared identity. We aim to foster cross-cultural communication as we honor the spirit of this ever-changing neighborhood and open a dialogue about the immigrant experience in New York City today. (Check out a behind-the-scenes look at the festival on our blog!)

Our Neighborhood

A sense of place is at the heart of Egg Rolls, Egg Creams, and Empanadas. Over many decades, the neighborhood has been home to myriad communities and cultures, creating new names – Lower East Side, Loisaida, Kleindeutschland, Chinatown – and identities. These communities balance the past, present and future as they navigate the rapidly changing landscape of the city. We embrace the legacy of these Chinese, Jewish, and Puerto Rican cultures and the way they define and redefine this neighborhood.

Folk Arts and Tradition

Through folk arts, which have their basis in community, folk groups reflect and communicate their values, ideas, and beliefs across generations. Music, dance, crafts, ritual practices, foodways, and other traditional art forms may be part of worship, work, or play. They are a part of lifecycle events, holiday celebrations, religious observances, and everyday life. Folk arts are passed down from parent to child, elder to younger, or master to apprentice. In the process, the arts are often adapted to accommodate changing situations. But their roots in tradition are ever present.

At the Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas festival, generations will join together to present arts that have stood the test of time, but have never become static. Indeed, traditional arts themselves are a result of the constant continuation and renewal. So join with us today as young and old, father and son, grandmother and granddaughter, master and apprentice, celebrate and share the traditions and arts that bind them together.

2019 Festival: The World of Music

For this year’s iteration of Egg Rolls, Egg Creams, and Empanadas, we decided to delve deeply into music as a process. How is music made? How is it performed? What is the material culture of making music? Through community partners, we’ve brought together a great roster of artists that speak to the various facets of creating, presenting, and enjoying folk music. Skilled instrument-makers will demonstrate how to build a bomba drum and panderetas. Chinese folk musicians will lead hands-on lessons in playing traditional Chinese instruments. We’ll learn Yiddish songs and dances, move to the rhythms of Plena and Bomba music, and apply face paint for a Chinese opera performance. Please join us as we explore the world of music!

Jewish Culture

Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe made up the predominant culture of the Lower East Side in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. This began to change in the 1920s, as Jewish residents moved to new areas of the city and country. Today, the neighborhood’s Jewish community has almost entirely relocated. Yet, through egg creams, pastrami sandwiches, historic synagogues, Yiddish music and stories that thrive here, the neighborhood continues to hold meaning as a part of Jewish identity. Connecting with their cultural heritage, the Jewish community reflects on their history in New York, Europe, and beyond as they continue to maintain and adapt the customs and traditions of their ancestors.

Mark your calendars – this year’s Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas Festival is Sunday, June 16 from 12pm to 4pm! Tell us you’re coming.