SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – October is cultural heritage month for the Polish, Italian and Hispanic people of western Massachusetts. 22News found each ethnic group deeply proud of their heritage.
The Polish community celebrated with a flag rising in front of Holyoke City Hall. Their pride was evident as Joseph Kose, the President of the Polish American Congress of western Massachusetts, traced the roots of Polish Americans.
“Since 1608, when the Polish first came to the United States, Polish Americans have been part of the history of America,” said Kose. “We just show our pride in our culture.”
In Springfield, Italian American businessman Rico Daniele, and owner of Mom and Rico’s, told 22News, that a small Italian town has been responsible for so much success among Italian Americans in western Mass.
“It’s a joy; we’ve been here since 1954. There’s about 67 businesses in the Springfield area that are from a little town in Braciano, Italy; Red Rose, LaForentino Pastry Shop, Dillon’s Package Store, all from the little town in Italy are now in the South End in Springfield,” said Daniele.
Recently, the Puerto Rican Parade was held in the Springfield’s North End. Rafael Fontanez has lived in Springfield for more than 40 years. He’s seen a lot of changes for the better.
“People have some ideas about the Hispanic population down here but we as a people celebrate, we have culture, we have traditions, we have beliefs and we are very family oriented and I feel proud about the culture of it,” said Fontanez.
It’s cultural heritage month for thousands of Hispanics, Polish, and Italian Americans who’ve made their homes and built their lives here in western Massachusetts.