Humans of UP

Celebrating Carnaval, UP Style

Samba, masks, food and face painting for the Humans of UP.

The organizers of Carnaval put masks and beads, such as the ones in the picture, on the tables in St. Mary’s for students to wear.

The organizers of Carnaval put masks and beads, such as the ones in the picture, on the tables in St. Mary’s for students to wear.

On Friday, February 13, dozens of UP students gathered in St. Mary’s to celebrate Carnaval.  For a few hours student could take a break from their studying and enjoy traditional Carnaval foods, listen to music, and learn an Afro-Brazilian dance called samba professional samba instructor, Donna Oefinger from Donna-Mation Dance. The Department of International Languages and Cultures, Multicultural Events, ASUP, Mesa Redonda Spanish Conversation Club, MECHA, French Club and Sigma Delta Pi Hispanic Honor Society hosted the event that evening.  “I helped out with this last year too, and it’s always so much fun,” said Karina Hernandez, who is a senior at UP, the co-president of Sigma Delta Pi and one of the event’s organizers.

Spanish Professor and Mesa Redonda (Spanish conversation table) advisor , Andrea Castanette, puts up the Carnaval 2015 sign at the photo booth before participants arrive.  Castanette was one of the main organizers of the event.

Spanish Professor and Mesa Redonda (Spanish conversation table) advisor , Andrea Castanette, puts up the Carnaval 2015 sign at the photo booth before participants arrive. Castanette was one of the main organizers of the event.

Carnaval, which is a version of the Mardi Gras celebration, is a festival celebrated around the world in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday.  Though celebrated in many countries, the most famous Carnaval celebrations take place in Brazil.  According to Hernandez, the event on campus is meant to incorporate common elements from the Carnaval celebrations in Brazil. “That’s why we got a samba instructor!” said Hernandez. During Carnaval in Brazil, people compete in samba competitions with brightly colored outfits.  Traditionally, the samba competitions are large parades in which different groups of samba dancers, also called samba schools, create a story line and theme for their Samba celebration.

Donna Oefinger, of Donna-Mation Dance, teaches UP students samba during Carnaval 2015. Samba is an Afro-Brazilian dance that is typically danced during Carnaval celebrations in Brazil.

Donna Oefinger, of Donna-Mation Dance, teaches UP students samba during Carnaval 2015. Samba is an Afro-Brazilian dance that is typically danced during Carnaval celebrations in Brazil.

Meredith Nelson, left, and Hallie Holland, right, dance during the samba lesson at Carnaval 2015. Meredith, a student at Lewis and Clark College was visiting Holland, a senior UP student.

Meredith Nelson, left, and Hallie Holland, right, dance during the samba lesson at Carnaval 2015. Meredith, a student at Lewis and Clark College was visiting Holland, a senior UP student.

In addition to the samba lessons, the UP version of Carnaval 2015 also included food, face painting and masks for students. The DJ, Jessica Buchanan, played traditional salsa and samba music throughout the event to keep everyone on the dance floor. Though there were no “samba schools” parading, the festivities were still enjoyed by all the Humans of UP who attended.

Vania Barragan paints Marianna DaRos’ face during Carnaval 2015.

Vania Barragan paints Marianna DaRos’ face during Carnaval 2015.

During Carnaval 2015, participants were encouraged to wear masks and beads, such as the ones in the photo. These were next to the photo booth during the event.

During Carnaval 2015, participants were encouraged to wear masks and beads, such as the ones in the photo. These were next to the photo booth during the event.

London Ballard, a junior and member of the French Club, eagerly awaited the arrival of participants before the Carnaval started. “It (Carnaval) is a great celebration that incorporates coming together to eat junk food,” said Ballard with a laugh.

London Ballard, a junior and member of the French Club, eagerly awaited the arrival of participants before the Carnaval started. “It (Carnaval) is a great celebration that incorporates coming together to eat junk food,” said Ballard with a laugh.

Tatiana Aguilar, a UP senior, wears a mask before taking a picture at the photo booth at Carnaval 2015. Aguilar said that she was excited about the event. “It’s a really great way to have a social gathering and get to do something you love with people you don’t know,” said Aguilar.

Tatiana Aguilar, a UP senior, wears a mask before taking a picture at the photo booth at Carnaval 2015. Aguilar said that she was excited about the event. “It’s a really great way to have a social gathering and get to do something you love with people you don’t know,” said Aguilar.

Spanish Professor Andrea Castanette, dances during the samba lesson during Carnaval 2015 in St. Mary’s. Castanette said that her favorite part of the event was the dancing.

Spanish Professor Andrea Castanette, dances during the samba lesson during Carnaval 2015 in St. Mary’s. Castanette said that her favorite part of the event was the dancing.

The DJ for the event, Jessica Buchanan, watches UP students during the samba lesson at Carnaval 2015. Buchanan, who is a DJ at KDUP radio station, played the music during the lesson and throughout the night. “It’s nice to get to DJ different music,” Buchanan said. “It’s different music than I’m used to.”

The DJ for the event, Jessica Buchanan, watches UP students during the samba lesson at Carnaval 2015. Buchanan, who is a DJ at KDUP radio station, played the music during the lesson and throughout the night. “It’s nice to get to DJ different music,” Buchanan said. “It’s different music than I’m used to.”

Vania Barragan, a UP senior, puts on a mask at the start of Carnaval 2015.

Vania Barragan, a UP senior, puts on a mask at the start of Carnaval 2015.

Donna Oefinger, of Donna-Mation Dance, teaches samba during Carnaval 2015. Samba is an Afro-Brazilian dance that is typically danced during Carnaval celebrations in Brazil.

Donna Oefinger, of Donna-Mation Dance, teaches samba during Carnaval 2015. Samba is an Afro-Brazilian dance that is typically danced during Carnaval celebrations in Brazil.

– Images and story by Nicola Plate

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