It’s Going To Be A Green-And-White Christmas

By Hamir J. Grau Rivera

The aftermath of the work stoppages in the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) put a damper on the holiday season of many students and faculty members of the UPR.  At the UPR- Mayagüez (UPRM), some of the faculty and the student body are making the best of a bad situation.

            During the fall semester at the UPRM, a work stoppage took place that resulted in a well-received week-and-a-half “vacation” for the students and faculty of the University.  While the stoppage was welcomed by most with open arms, others feared what the results of being a week behind schedule would be.  The results are in: a couple of holidays removed from the schedule, a late end to classes, and a disappointing final exams schedule.

            After the initial grieving process, the students accepted it and went on with their lives.  In spite of this, a lot of the students and faculty are keeping with the holidays and are sharing the spirit of the season.

             Edgardo Rios-Mena, a second-year student at the UPRM, is one of these people.  Edgardo is one of many students that go to their classes and the campus wearing a Santa Claus hat.  It may seem stupid to some, but it can’t be denied that seeing one of those hats walk into your classroom, puts a smile in your face.

            It’s little details like the Santa hats, the elf ears, and the reindeer antlers that make you smile the instant you see them.  “It’s not a big deal, it’s just because.  It’s tradition.”  It really isn’t that significant, but you know that when you see that red and white hat, it’s Christmas.

            Tradition is part of the season, and a lot of people are keeping their traditions away from home.

            Pamela Acevedo, a third-year Engineering major, did just that but in a more private setting.  Pamela had a small get-together with some close friends at her apartment.  “we just wanted to have a good time.  Finals time makes you a little tense, so this is a great way to loosen up.”

            Pamela and her friends wanted to do something special because of the holidays, a dinner party, some traditional foods and beverages, and a special appearance by Santa Claus.  “The Santa idea was sort of spur-of-the-moment.  It’s Christmas, so it just seemed right.”  She had a couple of her friends dress up for a picture, Santa Claus, one of his elves and a reindeer.  “Tis the season, right?”

            Edgardo and Pamela’s show of holiday spirit is somewhat personal and involves those closest to them.  But a small group of students and faculty members do the same but in a larger scale.

            In Puerto Rico, It’s a Christmas tradition to have what are called “parrandas”, which is the Puerto Rican equivalent of Christmas caroling, a small group of people playing music to others, taking the “act” around their neighborhoods.  At the UPRM it’s no different.

            Priscilla Rosario, a third-year Biology major, is part of a group of students and faculty that give parrandas during the Christmas season at the Student Center of the UPRM.  “It’s just something to do to bring a little joy to everyone.”  Priscilla has been part of the group since last year.  “I like doing it.  It’s great to see how everyone lights up when they hear us play.”

            It’s not just the students that are trying to keep traditions alive.  The UPRM itself has its own tradition.

            Every year the UPRM organizes a Christmas activity known as “el Encendido Navideño.”  The Encendido is a large gathering filled with music, arts and crafts, and food.  It all takes place on the university’s campus and the neighboring citizens attend as well as the faculty and the students.  The activity is topped off with the lighting of a big Christmas tree that decorates the campus.

            Christmas is a special time in Puerto Rico, so it’s only natural to do something special for your friends and family.  Since the circumstances don’t allow too much time for that, you have to do what you can to keep close.  And that is what inspires people like these UPRM students and faculty members to take a relatively bad situation and make the best of it.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

It's not the North Star, but still very nice.

Here comes Santa Claus!

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