By Gabrielle Lamontagne
The long line to enter did not dissuade anyone from participating in the Brazilian Carnaval hosted by MOSAICO in the Granite State Room Wednesday night. Instead, the doors weren’t closed until approximately 7:50 p.m., almost a full hour after the event officially began.
The night featured a Brazilian UNH Alum guest speaker, a short cultural video about Brazil, musical and dance performances by the group Samba Viva, and traditional Brazilian food. Trivia cards and feathered masks decorated tables and encourage audience participation. According to co-chair of MOSAICO, senior Cecilia Martins, “The idea was to have this be an event that people have fun but is also educational, so people are walking away with a little bit of knowledge of Brazilian culture.”
The tables also held tasty appetizers of Ritz crackers, cheese, a jelly-square item to go on the crackers and a sugary Guava juice. Brazilian food featured at the event included kibe: a mix of beef, wheat, and herbs and brigadeiro: a sweet, fudge-like dessert.
The guest speaker, Karoline Goulart, was interested in spreading the word about true Brazilian culture, saying, “Sometimes it gets tiring to defend who you are and who you’re not….you do not have to speak for everyone.”
For her, MOSAICO was a welcome change from students that wouldn’t listen to her about her true cultural heritage, and for other Hispanic or Latino students who felt the same way. “MOSAICO gave us all the space to be who we wanted to be,” said Goulart.
Of Carnaval in Brazil, she said that it is more than just a one-day holiday. There, people go all out to celebrate the event, which is similar to Mardi Gras in the fact that it is a way to feast and rejoice before fasting in the Lenten season. She said that in Brazil during Carnaval, “…everything is closed. If you want to do anything, you can’t: so just sit back and enjoy it.”
The students and alumni in attendance were glad to be included in the celebration and interested in learning and experiencing Latino culture. Alum of 2015, Kayla Bery said “I like the music,” while her friend sophomore Jannitza Garcia said, “The dancers were amazing.” For these two, attending other culture events is not out of the norm. Bery said, “I go to Carnaval in Boston, so this is just a smaller version of that.”
The musical and dance performances were a big hit. Graduate student, Saeede Ghorbanpour, said “I wish there was more dancing.”
Graduate student Eddy Momanyi said of the event, “It’s been pretty great. The dancing has been on point. I love international music.”
Sophomores Jackie Clyde and Nicole Murray were fans. “I like the music. I like how it sounds,” said Clyde. Murray added, “I think it’s cool so far. I like the dancers.”
People of all different ethnic backgrounds were in attendance. Towards the end of the night a raffle was held based on event ticket purchases: there were three raffle winners, the largest item won being a 32” LED TV.
Co-chairs of MOSAICO, Seniors Cecilia Martins and Iliana Espaillat, new to the role, had a chaotic time putting this event together. Martins said, “Our biggest change was focusing on this is Brazilian Carnaval, not MOSAICO Carnaval.”
Though it was a tough job with full-time schoolwork, they managed to pull off the event. Martins was proud of their work, saying, “I’m Brazilian so I was really excited about this. It was a really fun experience to be in the driver’s seat.”