Noche Mexicana celebrates heritage


Photo: Tom Fraser/Iowa State Daily

A member of the Omeyocan Dance Company performs at Noche Mexicana, a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture, Saturday April 2 in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.

Alli Kolick

Traditional food, drink, dance and music were the highlight of Noche Mexicana on Saturday night.

Joined by students, families and interested community members, MAYAS, the Interested Gentlemen of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, and the Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, had an amazing turnout for their annual event.

With the spirit of Mexico in the colors of the green, white and red decorations and the traditional food — rice, pinto beans and chicken enchiladas — it was nothing short of a celebration.

“It’s bigger than I thought it would be,” said Janette Garcia about her first Noche Mexicana.

Garcia, a sophomore in nutritional science and event coordinator for MAYAS in the upcoming semester, seemed surprised at how many people showed up to support the event.

Garcia wasn’t the only one pleasantly surprised by the crowd. Roberto Orozco, junior in marketing and the current event coordinator, also said he was pleased with the event.

“Really, really good turnout [this year],” Orozco said.

Eva Morales, senior in interdisciplinary studies and president of MAYAS, was beaming because of the success of the event.

“At least four to five times [more people than] last year,” Morales said. “In seven minutes, the first round of food was done. That’s a really good problem to have.”

As guests got their food and returned to their tables, traditional Mexican music started playing, and the stage was being set for the upcoming acts.

However, before the show started, everyone stood to recognize the Mexican national anthem, which was played via YouTube, so that the words could be shown and people could sing along.

Dean of Student Support Services and adviser for Lambda Theta Nu Sorority and the Interested Gentlemen of Lambda Theta Phi Mary Jo Gonzales, addressed the audience with the significance of the Noche Mexicana.

At first Gonzales didn’t do much of the talking. Instead she insisted the audience talked amongst one another about different rituals, traditions and food.

As this was an event not only to recognize the differences of cultures, but to celebrate the similarities of them as well, Gonzales used food to bring everyone together.

“We tend to eat together, share bread together,” Gonzales said. “My hope today is that we join each other and learn to honor ourselves and what we bring to the table.”

Then, to kick off the entertainment, Gonzales reminded everyone why they were all gathered in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union for Noche Mexicana.

“The most important values that we have in this culture is family and community,” Gonzales said.

The night carried on with traditional dances and music from the Mexican and Aztec cultures and was truly a diverse event with presentations in both Spanish and English.