Latin American Fiesta: The BYUH cafeteria celebrates Latin culture

Written by: 
Tucker Grimshaw~Multimedia Journalist

The Latin American Club shared its culture with students in the Caf on May 7. Dancing, music and Latino dishes were shared with all that entered.

Katai Mariteragi, special events coordinator at the Caf, stated this about the purpose of the event: “It is for us to teach them the Latino culture through music, through food, and through dancing. Hopefully the students will have the opportunity to learn the Latino culture.”

Prior to the event, Mariteragi called members of the Latino Club and asked them what the food, decorations and entertainment should be so they could make the night a success.

The two dishes the Caf and Latin American Club shared were tacos and chili verde. Chili verde is an authentic Mexican stew that uses tomatillos and green chilis, hence the name “chili verde” (verde is Spanish for the color green).

A traditional Latin American drink called Jamaica (remember the “j” acts a an h) was shared. The Jamaica drink is hibiscus tea. It is served chilled and is sweet and satisfying, said Fernando Mena, a sophomore from Mexico in business management.

Mandi Hess, a junior studying elementary education from California, had this to say about the food, “I liked the chili verde but not the tacos.” Another student Diana Ruiz from Mexico, agreed with Hess. “I like the chili verde. It seems like the dish we have at home.”

Students laughed and danced to different kinds of Latin music. Ruiz stated, “I like that they played real Mexican music and we were able to dance. It is a great way to celebrate the traditions of other cultures.”

Latin American students said they were happy their culture was shared. Gabriella Gomez, a freshman studying ICS from Guatemala, remarked, “What I like about the fiesta is that I can feel things of my country or culture close to me, like Latin food, Latin music and many Latin things around us.”

Towards the end of the night, students participated in the breaking of a piñata. A piñata is a paper container that is filled with candy or small toys. The object of the game is to break the piñata with a stick or bat of some sort. Traditionally the song, “Cantos para romper la piñata” is sung by those watching the person hit the piñata.

At the caf they followed this tradition and students joined in the singing. Once the piñata was broken, students rushed for pieces of candy.

Mariteragi said this about the event, “Some have never experienced the Latin culture. We like it. We love it,” and “hopefully they learn something from it.”