Hosted in the Courtyard Cafe, this is past Friday, Nov. 1 the Gustavus campus held two joint events by the Organization for Latinx American Students (OLAS), and the Hmong American Cultural Outreach (HACO) student organizations. The first celebration, named “Rejoining our Loved Ones”, was aimed to tie together the Hmong New Year celebrations with Day of the Dead. The event included traditional food, folklore, etc. of the respective cultures. “This event was about being in touch with our loved ones whom have passed away.
Also exposing the beautiful culture of Hmong New Year and Day of the Dead,” co-President of OLAS Ivan Suarez said. Head of the planning committee for OLAS Daisy Hernandez-Barguiarena echoed this idea. “In Mexico and other Latinx countries, Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on November 2nd as a way to honor our loved ones and wish them luck on their afterlife.
Hmong New Year is an annual celebration that honors ancestry and celebrates the end of the harvest season. Both events emphasize the journey our ancestors take to reach the afterlife by celebrating their lives on earth,” Hernandez-Barguiarena said. This is the second year that OLAS has worked with HACO to create the collaborated event. In previous years, OLAS worked with the Spanish Department to celebrate the Day of the Dead.
The event allowed for a lot of fun to be had by all who attended and kept everyone busy with entertainment. “There was a bunch of food and drinks from both cultures. We had a fun activities such skull marshmallows, writing letters to our passed loved ones, and canvas painting. We even had a psychic. It was awesome to see the student body interacting in activities and trying new foods. Stepping out of our comfort zones is not an easy thing and seeing students try new things was a great turnout,” Suarez said.
Suarez also enjoyed being able to work with another student organization and teaching others about the two cultures. “My favorite part of the event was collabing with HACO and seeing both cultures working together for a beautiful outcome…There was a lot of work that went into this event. It entailed working together and every aspect of each other’s culture heard and seen,” Suarez said. Hernandez-Barguiarena also enjoyed working closely with another student organization in order to create a meaningful experience for attendees.
“My favorite part of the event was seeing how two cultures that are seen as totally different merge together so well. I loved collaborating with HACO to create an event that is close to our hearts,” Hernandez-Barguiarena said.
Hernandez-Barguiarena was one of the main event planners, ensuring that there was communication between the two student organization. “As the head of the planning committee for OLAS, I met with HACO representatives and acted as a liaison between our organizations to ensure we were on the same page. To plan this event we had to decide what important aspects of Hmong New Year and Dia de los muertos we wanted to highlight. There was a lot of brainstorming within our orgs and then lots of hands-on work to create the photo booth, the decorations, and to make the food. There were also the logistics to be taken care of such as: reserving the location, placing orders for items, making posters, etc.,” Hernandez-Barguiarena said.
Both organizations have future events coming up throughout the academic year that the campus is welcome to. OLAS is excited about their spring events, especially.
“We have a very big event in the spring semester called LatinX night where we show off different cultures through dancers and speakers of Latin America. We also create amazing food options from around Latin America as well. It’s a great experience for those interested in our culture and who want to get involved more,” Suarez said.