URBANA – A traditional celebration over the weekend gave the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign community an opportunity to join together for the holiday season.
The Latino Student Association hosted its annual Las Posadas at the U of I. Many Latin American countries and people in the United States celebrate Las Posadas, which commemorates Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. According to Catholic sources, the Christmastime celebration has occurred in Mexico for more than 400 years.
U of I student organizations celebrate Las Posadas by providing craft tables, food, and entertainment for the community.
Assistant Director of La Casa Cultural Latina Stephanie Cardoza-Cruz says La Casa helped organize the event and a toy drive for the community.
Cardoza says more than 100 toys were donated to local communities to those in need.
“These toys were given out to I want to say about 20 children came to the event, and the rest will be distributed throughout the week, ” Cardoza says. “One community that gets often overlooked in the Latino community at here in Champaign Urbana, but we really focused on the Q’anjob’al community,”
The Q’anjob’al community is from Guatemala.
Student Mariano Morales says the event reminded him of home. He says it’s unusual to attend an event connected to his culture at a predominantly white institution such as the U of I.
“It just felt like it felt like a piece of home when I was there because it was just like different aspects that you’re used to not being there,” said Morales. “When you’re on campus, especially with schoolwork, and especially with social issues.”
Cardoza says whenever there are big events for the community, anyone is welcome to join.