By: Cecilia Monclova and Wilmary Perea
The Thanksgiving dinner of the Agricultural Science Faculty was on November 23 in the tennis court of the University of Puerto Rico (UPRM). This celebration started at 6:30p.m. and ended at 10p.m., when the professors were expulsing the approximately 400 students who did not want to leave.
In a beautiful court with natural plants decorating the center and the columns and with light beige and dark green tablecloths covering the tables was the scenario for this event.
Yairanex Roman was the host of the event one, which began to give the welcoming. Following the Agricultural Science Dean and Director, Hector Santiago, explained the purpose of the activity and the thankful heart that should reign.
Beatriz Rivera, a livestock industry student continued with a reflection and a video appealing to the Thanksgiving tradition. Next was the honor student Association Alpha Zeta and the Association of Horticulture Students, who did a reflection with music in sign language.
Then a five voice chorus with a violin sang the Juan Luis Guerra song “Tan solo he venido”. With two girls and three boys each one with different tones high and low gave to the song a whole new sense, with new vocal sounds and harmonies.
At last, the professor exhorted those presents to pray. Everybody stood up, closed their eyes and prayed for the one next to them.
When the ceremony was over, the dinner and the party started. While some people were waiting to get food, other students were dancing salsa and merengue.
The food was made by the graduated faculty of Science and Food Technology; the pork was one of the UPRM land, and the sweet cassava was made by members of the faculty. The food consisted in Chinese style vegetable rice, pork in sauce and sweet cassava cooked with cinnamon, sugar and anis.
All of this combined with a homemade fruit punch juice and delicious corn ice-cream as dessert. Professors were serving each plate of food, as a show of their appreciation for the students.
After eating, the party started with students playing “plena” and singing. Everyone got together to sing about the UPRM, professors, food and just life. With the traditional “Bomba” song students got a chance to express their creativity.
This activity was made thanks to the professors who paid $20 to cover the expenses. This made the activity free for students.
Jamie Rivera, the Alpha Zeta vice-president, said, “I love this activity because we can be all together as a beautiful family.” She continued, “Two years ago they did not do this; I don’t know why, but I love this activity and I hope they keep on doing it.”
“I heard that this is the only Thanksgiving dinner that some students have because of personal reasons, maybe they are transfer or they don’t have family in the island” Jamie explained. “so this is a very special event for them too”
Leandro Hernandez, a student of general agriculture said: “I really liked the dinner, it was very organized. It proved that the students are talented not only in the academic aspect but also in music, singing and everything else that we saw.” He continued, “It was something really different because they took us out from the building to enjoy as a family.”
The head organizer of this activity is the secretary Madelyn Rios who wants to please the students. She got in contact with each association who participated and every student. She also got in contact with the professors to raise the money.
She looked for the place, the sound system and everything else. She was the main mind behind this amazing event.
Melissa Vila, President of the Honor Association Alpha Zeta, gave us her opinion; “It was a beautiful activity. It was the moment when the professors said thanks to the students because they are giving us this dinner and paying for it. Also, our students proved their talents. It is an activity where the students of the different Associations took of their time to give us that art gift to us.”
The UPRM had their own activities for the entire scholar community as the traditional “turkey race”. It took place in November 17, in front of the library and even under the rain saw the racers running for their reward. It was a wetly race but it also was a fun activity where student were waiting for the racers inside of the Student’s Center.
The Thanksgiving tradition comes from the original tradition in the United States where the fourth Thursday of November is the day to take dinner and give thanks to God for the food and everything that he gives to us.
The history said that in 1621 in Masachussets a mix of European and North American Natives got together to have dinner to express their gratitude for the great harvest. It was a time to share with people that they love and to rest and enjoy together as Wikipedia tells.
This “American” tradition came to us because of the political situation of our country. Puerto Rico was invaded in 1898 by the United Stated and there started the cultural mix, not immediately but step by step we adapted their costumes and traditions to ours.
In Puerto Rico, the schools do special programs to remember this day and has special events as the “turkey race”. Every family in the country celebrates and takes lunch or dinner together with the traditional turkey.
Puerto Rico celebrates with a free labor day when just a few go to work, and even the biggest shopping malls are closed. In Manhattan, they do the traditional “Thanksgiving parade” that is transmitted by television worldwide.
This tradition is not only characteristic of the United States and Puerto Rico but also, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Japan, Liberia, the Netherlands and many more. This is a global celebration even though it is not celebrated on the same date in every nation.