Carnaval celebrates global diversity

woman dressed in red and green traditional Persian dance wear
Performers demonstrate a Persian dance routine at Carnaval on March 26, 2015 Photo credit: Jamie Perez

Diversity will be celebrated on the CSUN campus, as the University Student Union prepares to host the 21st annual Carnaval on April 5.

Carnaval is a multicultural fair that celebrates diversity by highlighting different cultures such as Brazilian, Mexican, African, and more through live performances, music, and food. Carnaval allows students to educate themselves on cultures in an interactive way.

Asian, Native American and Middle Eastern cultures are also some of those being highlighted during Carnaval.

“CSUN is such a diverse campus and it’s important to raise awareness and celebrate that, especially in the climate we’re in today,” said Erika Villalvazo, the event leader, and student event assistant. “Knowing how to interact with all different walks of life is important.”

Carnaval will feature a lineup of activities and performances that will serve to educate and empower students. Students can expect performances ranging from Brazilian Samba and Folklorico to the CSUN African Dance Team. Henna tattooing and fortune-telling are also making an appearance.

This year Carnaval will be showcasing art and clothing from different cultures. A new performance has been added to this year’s line up that will showcase different animals from around the world,

“We try to be as authentic as possible,” said event supervisor Xiomara Carranza. “It’s one of the few events that highlights and promotes diversity or learning of different cultures.”

In addition to activities and performances, students can also experience cultures through food. Carranza shares that some of the food that will be highlighted are from West Africa and Brazil. A dessert table will also be included – a new edition to Carnaval.

Communication studies major Mabel Garcia, a junior, shares that she is excited to see the different dance performances showcased in Carnaval. Garcia believes Carnaval is a great way to represent the different cultural backgrounds CSUN students come from.

“We have students from so many parts of the world at CSUN,” Garcia said. “The beauty of Carnaval is acknowledging other cultures and learning about different cultures and their beliefs and values.”

Villavalzo shares that she made sure that the performances included during Carnaval were sensitive and purposeful.

Carranza encourages students to stop by not just for the free food but to really learn about the different cultures highlighted. Carnaval also allows students to see if their culture is being acknowledged, allowing them to relate to the event even more.

“Anything that happens on campus you can always learn from so if cultures are being brought to you for a free event, why not take part,” Carranza said.

Carnaval will be held from noon to 7:30 p.m. at the Plaza del Sol at the USU.

“I think events such as these really make you step back and reflect on all the different groups of people on campus,” Villalvazo said.