LASAF celebrates “Carnaval” to ring in Lenten season

By Jenna Gaudino

Features Contributor

Celebrated by many in the Latin American community, Carnaval is a celebration before the season of Lent begins. Carnaval occurs in the month of February and sometimes lasts into the first week of March. According to several online sources, excessive amounts of meat, alcohol and other foods are consumed before it is given up for Lent. Carnaval, similar to Mardi Gras, is a celebration where people dress up, wear masks and attend street parties. Each country in Latin America has their own twist on the traditions they practice, but in general, Carnaval is characterized by lots of parades, food, and dancing.

On Monday, Feb. 12, Canisius held its own Carnaval celebration. Organizers of the event including Latin American Students and Friends and Global Horizons were shocked as to how popular the event was. Abby Schwenk, president of Global Horizons, said she thought at least 150 students came. There were games such as musical chairs and mingle, along with salsa lessons taught by professional salsa dancers. Along with the games, students had the chance to win travel-themed prizes to enhance the competition.

Schwenk stated, “It was so fun to see students gets involved with the salsa dancers during the short dance class. The students really go all out in the games that we play.” Similarly, Alexander Sanchez, member of LASAF said, “It was funny to see people get goofy.”

Although designing floats for the parades are popular in Latin American countries, Canisius was not able to hold a parade. Instead, students got crafty with smaller projects such as decorating maracas, jewelry boxes and masks. Creativity and expression are important themes during the season of Carnaval because it is a special time when everyone can let loose and celebrate life.

The food was another big part of the celebration. At this year’s celebration, Global Horizons ordered Jamaican and Puerto Rican food from Dr. Bird’s Rasta-rant and La Flor. There was jerk chicken, beef patties, rice, beans, plantains, pork, and pastry desserts. Schwenk commented on how fast the food went saying, “I wish we would have ordered more!”

In the next couple of weeks, Global Horizons will host other events including International Women’s Day on March 8, and their biggest event of the year, Global Fest, on April 17. Stay tuned.

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