Article Written by Emma Bast.
The Latin American Student Association hosted a Culture Night highlighting Carnaval Culture on January 14th in Atwood Memorial Center. The event called El Camino al Carnaval, or The Road to Carnival is the first culture night of the semester.
New this year, the event featured walk-through interactive exhibits depicting videos of Carnavals from Mezo America, the Andes, as well as Brazil for eventgoers to see. Each exhibit highlights the celebrations of each region by showing clips of past Carnavals. “We wanted to add a walk-through tour for our guests… to give them more of an insight as to what each culture is all about,” said the President of LASA, Vanessa Waldorf.
Each region celebrates al Carnaval with slight differences, whether in their decorations, costumes, or dances. The event highlighted the differences as well as the similarities seen in Latin American cultures. Each room was decorated to match the materials used in the celebrations within the region.
An additional highlight of the night was the featured dancers, who performed three dances. The first dance, called Arequipa, originates from Peru and depicts celebrators going out to make jokes and dance. The second dance, also from Peru, is called Saya. This dance is one of the most popular dances in Peru, it shows a conflict between the Cusqueños and the Saya. Several LASA members are in Saya dance troupes and go back to Peru to perform in the Virgen de Candelaria says Waldorf. The last dance was Balada Boa de Brazil and is known for its energy-filled music and dance moves. “The dancers put in a lot of work,” continued Iris, an announcer at the event and a member of LASA.
A live band was also in attendance. Based in Minneapolis, the Somba de Romba brought percussion sounds mixed with harmonic vocals. Several of the percussionists are from various places in the Twin Cities. They played music during most of the night, encouraging attendees to get up and dance to their lively music.
Al Carnaval contained colorful decorations, dance performances, and dishes from Latinx culture. Carnaval is the Latin American equivalent to Mardi Gras, or other festivities in celebration of Fat Tuesday, which in the Catholic religion signals the start of Lent.