Gritamos Por Mexico
This past Monday, Sept. 15, a celebration took place on campus at the Quad. Upward of 30 or 40 people attended throughout the night, a familiar scent in the air of fried beans, cheese and burning coals on the grill in anticipation of steak, onions and tortillas. Memories meld with a night as I realize that a lot of the people around me are experiencing this culture with fresh eyes.
Historically speaking, Sept. 16 marks the day on which Mexico as a country fully succeeded from Spanish rule in the wake of Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and imprisonment of then King Ferdinand VII. The 15th was the commencement of the celebration, capped by “El Grito” at the start of the 16th day in September.
The event was organized by Alvarado Hurtado and Sandra Schoenenstein with food prepared by Narrelle Beristain, Claudia Vargas, Alvarado Hurtado, Federico Ochoa and Juan Herrera. A collection of donations also took place throughout the night which ended with nearly $250 raised.
The festivities included a delicious assortment of genuine Mexican cuisine as well as music and a piñata, which all those in attendance had the pleasure of beating up.
“I felt that the event was a huge success and it wasn’t until people discovered that they needed to part take in the food, the dancing, the piñata, and the penultimate “Grito” that they received a true experience of Mexican culture,” Schoenenstein says.
As for the food, all of it was made in Andi Star’s on-campus apartment kitchen. “It was really cool to see and I took tons of pictures of them making the food,” Star says. “I’m glad that everyone really had a chance to taste the food and celebrate.”
The event attracted students from a variety of cultures.
“I love Mexico,” Jehad Al Katheeb says. “I’ve been there plenty of times to visit friends that I met here. Celebrating this day is good and I am happy for my friends. Also the food is good. Most of my friends here are Mexicans and I just like getting to know their culture more.”
That’s part of what makes the event special, Mexico-native Diana Padilla says. “It’s a nice opportunity for everyone on campus to get together and get to know some more about Mexican culture. People here will find out that this day is more significant than Cinco de Mayo which is what most Americans consider to be Mexico’s big day. ”
The night ended with “El Grito,” a symbolic representation of Miguel Hidalgo’s emblematic cry of Independence, which was likely heard by students in the Residence Halls. From there the party moved indoors into the apartments or off-campus. Those who had come out to celebrate got to experience the gracious nature of Hispanic celebration. Good food, cheers and camaraderie were themes for the night.
Of all that this event represents, our school stands to benefit from a display of cultural diversity. Our campus life has always benefited from a healthy mix of international and domestic students studying together in various academic programs. Events aimed at integrating cultural knowledge and exposure are disappointingly sparse. While Santa Fe as a city is very prime for such interactions our Campus could use more events such as Mexican Independence Day to liven up cohesion and appreciation between the student body. While more remains to be seen in the future of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design regarding the diversity of planned events, this past Monday was a good celebration and a fun experience to be both a part of as well as to report to those not able to attend.