Spicing things up Puerto Rican-style

SABOR: The Puerto Rican Student Association is hosting Puerto Rican Awareness Week, a five-day trip through the different traditions and celebrations that can be found on the island.

“The week is our version of what we do on our island,” Cristina Lopez del Castillo, treasurer of SABOR, said. “It helps Puerto Rican students feel more at home, while broadening UM’s horizons about what it means to be Puerto Rican.”

Every event scheduled for Puerto Rican Awareness Week reflects some aspect of the island’s culture. Monday’s opening ceremonies included the singing of the national anthem, showing Puerto Rican pride. Today, the event is dinner and a movie, where the film highlights Puerto Rican culture and Puerto Rican actors and actresses. The dinner consists of the traditional island cuisine. Noche de Galeria, also known as Gallery Night, will be held on Wednesday.

“Every first Tuesday of the month in Puerto Rico in old San Juan, all galleries are open for free, giving the local community a chance to view the various exhibits,” Lopez del Castillo said. “In order to recreate this event, we invited local Puerto Rican artists to showcase their art in Eaton, placing it outdoors to mimic the festival-like atmosphere felt in San Juan.”

On Thursday, SABOR will host its third annual Despierta Boricua, a chance for students and faculty to discuss a topic relevant to Puerto Ricans today. This year, the topic will be education reform and the issues it entails both on the island and in the U.S. Everything culminates on Friday, the day Puerto Ricans celebrate their island’s discovery by Christopher Columbus, when SABOR will host a traditional Puerto Rican festival, also known as Fiestas Patronales.

“Fiestas Patronales are celebrated in the different principalities of Puerto Rico and are usually held in the central plaza of the town. It’s very cultural,” Lopez del Castillo said.

To fully bring out the spirit of these Fiestas Patronales, SABOR will convert the UC Patio into its own central plaza, complete with traditional decorations, costumes, dances and an 11-piece band whose music will bring the sounds of Puerto Rico to UM’s own backyard.

According to its constitution, the purpose of SABOR is to increase awareness and to enlighten the UM campus on Puerto Rican culture.

“UM is such a diverse campus, and we want to put our little piece of culture into its diversity,” Laura Lugo, Puerto Rican Awareness Week chair, said. “We want to show the what our culture is all about.”

Puerto Rican Awareness Week runs through Nov. 19.

Christine Dominguez can be contacted at c.dominguez@umiami.edu


Tuesday: Puerto Rican dinner and movie night. Meet at Stanford Circle at 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Noche de Galeria displays work of Puerto Rican artists in Eaton Residential College [by the butterfly garden] at 7 p.m.

Thursday: The third annual Despierta Boricua, a discussion on educational reforms in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. followed by a Puerto Rican meal, will be held in the Mahoney/Pearson classrooms at 7:30 p.m.

Friday: “Fiestas Patronales” celebration at the UC Patio from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Food is $2 with student ID.