Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Helena Rodriguez
PORTALES — Feliz Navidad means "Merry Christmas" in any Spanish-speaking country. However, when it comes to celebrating Christmas, each Spanish-speaking country around the world has its own sets of Christmas traditions and customs.
Hispanic Affairs at Eastern New Mexico University will showcase the many Christmas customs observed by Hispanics around the world during Navidades Hispanas. The event is slated for 5–7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10, in the Café Down Under located in The Alley of the Campus Union Building.
"Sometimes we think that all the Spanish countries celebrate Christmas the same way, but in fact, there is a lot of different traditions," said Nancy Varelas, student director for Hispanic Affairs. "Just as an example, in Panama, Christmas starts with the celebration of Mother's Day on Dec. 8. (Yes, Mother's Day is celebrated in December). There are a lot of different traditions like this and we are going to be learning those at the dinner."
Lily Martinez of Hispanic Affairs said there are two main purposes for Navidades Hispanas. "The first is to celebrate our Spanish cultures and the second purpose is to celebrate our American culture."
Entertainment will be provided by a group of African American singers and The ENMU Spanish Club will take pictures with Santa Clause for people for a cost of $2. In addition, several faculty from Eastern, as well as students, will share customs from their respective Latin American countries.
Among those scheduled to speak are: Dr. Mary Ayala, who will talk about Mexico, Dr. Vitelio Contreras, who will share customs from his native Guatemala and Costa Rica, and Diana Cordova, who will talk about Spain. In addition, Dr. Sue Stockly will share Christmas customs from Mexico City and Hispanic communities from northern New Mexico. Dr. Elizabeth Galligan will share information on Brazil, and Dr. Romelia Hurtado de Vivas will talk about Venezuela. Students will also be welcome to share their traditions.
Martinez said some students have already indicated plans to bring dishes such as tamales and flan, a Mexican desert. She also said small displays of various Spanish speaking countries will be set up, showcasing some of their holiday traditions such as the Mexican "posadas" which is a re-enactment of the events leading to the birth of Christ.
For more information or to RSVP, contact the Office of Hispanic Affairs at 505.562.2451.