Preview: Campus celebrates Mexican holiday

Latino and Hispanic social awareness group Latinos Unidos partnered with the Office of Multicultural Services to host their third-annual Tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Mexican holiday that honors the figure more commonly known as the Virgin Mary.
The festivities will take place Dec. 10, starting at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall, and, according to Alejandra Campos, an office of multicultural services volunteer, it will feature Mariachi Monumental de Mexico, a Chicago-based mariachi band that has played for the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls.
Dance group Ballet Folklorico of the Quad Cities will also be performing. There will also be vocal performances by Senior Vivian Perez and first-year Chelsea Mentado.
Latinos Unidos President Michelle Bautista describes the prominence of honoring the Lady of Guadalupe by saying how important she is to Mexican culture.
“The holiday is a chance for people to pay tribute to the Virgin Mary and to pay tribute for the various things that she has done for us,” said Bautista. “For example, it could be something as simple as providing good health or as specific as watching over a sick grandfather in the hospital. So (the day is) just about giving thanks for the miracles our lady has done.”
According to Bautista, participants can pay tribute by placing a rose on an alter of the Virgin Mary. Latinos Unidos will also be having a rose fundraiser to raise money for their club.
When it comes to the impact of the event, Bautista said that Latinos Unidos would like to help educate students about “Mexican or Latino culture” and help them to learn more about their traditions.
“On the Quad Cities community side, it’s kind of a way for (Quad City citizens) to pay tribute,” said Bautista. “Since we don’t live in Mexico where this is a major holiday, we are kind of limited in how we can pay tribute, but people here in the United States are still devout to the Virgin Mary, so this provides a way for them to pay tribute, by either giving her a rose or singing.”
The legend is that in the sixteenth century the Virgin Mary appeared before Juan Diego as an indigenous girl on a hilltop in modern-day Mexico and told him to have the local Bishop build a basilica in central Mexico.
To prove to the Bishop that her presence was real, she grew Castilian roses (native to Spain) in the middle of winter for Diego to present to the Bishop.
In order to illustrate the history of the Day of Lady Guadalupe, Alejandra Campos, a volunteer for the Office of Multicultural Services, said that there will be a skit performed that reenacts Diego’s journey.
According to Campos, sophomore Lizeth Tamayo, junior Rodrigo Raya, junior Hector Ruiz and first-year Juan Tino will play the Virgin Mary, the Bishop, Juan Diego and the Bishop’s assistant, respectively. The actors themselves will not speak. Instead, junior Ruby Loera and sophomore Michael Guiotti will narrate.
“Ever since I was little, (the holiday has) been something I’ve always known about,” said Campos. “We really want students to learn more about our culture, and this is a big event in our culture, (the culture of) the Hispanic community in general.”
Students and community members are encouraged by Bautista to attend. With last year’s attendance set at around 800 people, this year Bautista expects around 1,000 attendees.