‘Carnaval’ attempts to redefine culture

The Council for Ethic Organizations held the Carnaval of Culture on Thursday, a free two-part event aimed to celebrate ethnic diversity and cultural awareness amongst UH students.

The first portion of the event took place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Butler Plaza and outside Cullen Performance Hall and offered an assortment of food, games and activities from around the world to students.

The second part of the event took place from 6-9 p.m. in Cullen Performance Hall.

Complimentary food and refreshments were available, along with free T-shirts for the first 100 individuals to arrive.

The performances showcased a variety of local and international dancing and musical talents. Capoeira, flamenco, Irish step-dance and African drums were featured in the first half of the show along with several performances by local musicians and dancers.

Grande Collective, a trio of rappers whose beats swayed the audience, competed against piano-guitar duo Amir and Farhad and dance groups UNASON and Nintenduo. A trophy was awarded to first-place winners Amir and Farhad for their Persian flamenco performance.

Faith Davenport, a sophomore psychology major who heard about the event through an email, was impressed by the overall turnout.

“There are a lot of people here,” she said. “I think the performances draw people in because you don’t see them often, if at all.”

CEO member Sieda Omar said the event isn’t just about celebrating cultural diversity.

“One of the things that CEO is trying to do this year is branch away from what the standard meaning of culture might mean for a lot of students here,” Omar said.

One way that CEO tries to accomplish that is by opening the stage to performances that weren’t necessarily from a specific culture, Omar said.

“What we are hoping to do is help students understand that culture isn’t just about what food you eat or what area of the world you are from, and to really broaden their sense of what culture and diversity might mean,” Omar said.

The overall success of this year’s Carnaval of Culture has the Council already planning for the next one.

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