A Mexican Cultural Fiesta / Una Fiesta Cultural Mexicana

As it has become a custom in my office, cultural festivals have been held throughout the years. However, ever since I started working here, I have never seen anyone organize a Mexican cultural fiesta. This year my co-workers suggested we should have one and so we did.

On this blog, I have posted about the African-American celebration, Black History Month; Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, and more recently I posted some pictures of the Cambodian and Laotian New Year celebration. Now I have the honor of sharing with you a little bit of the culture and traditions of Mexico through photographs and a short narrative of how this event evolved in my office.

We were inspired by beautiful events from other cultures. At first, we talked about celebrating Cinco de Mayo but we quickly voted against it because Mexican people don’t really celebrate this date. We wanted to put together a different celebration, one that would prove a different panorama of Mexico to our co-workers in the office. So, as good old Mexicans who did not need any reason or special day to throw a good party, we picked any old day - May 23rd.

We carefully planned the menu and chose chicken and beef tostadas with all the trimmings. We picked Mexican arroz (rice) as the side dish and aguas frescas for beverages; espinaca (spinach), horchata (rice) and jamaica (hibiscus) to represent the colors of our Mexican flag. Dessert was rice pudding, flan and Mexican fruit gelatin. Our office is promoting healthy food and we thought this was a nutritious and satisfying meal that everyone would enjoy - it had everything - carbohydrates, protein, dairy, vegetables and fruit. Of course, we prepared this meal with authentic Mexican ingredients of the highest quality. It was a delicious meal that everyone liked!

Next were the decorations, exhibits and games. We planned exhibits that showcased the arts and crafts of Mexico as well as some clothing and textiles from the different regions throughout our country. We had an exhibit with Frida Kahlo’s paintings and artwork from the artist, Vic Herman, and a display showcasing influential people of Mexican descent which was very educational and inspirational to us.

We also had an exhibit to show the wine, olive oil and cheese from Baja, which are gaining in popularity every day. We had a tortilla-making demonstration with la tortillera (lady who makes tortillas)! In addition, we played loteria, a fun Mexican game similar to Bingo, and we organized a salsa contest. We invited everyone in the office to participate by contributing a salsa or by being one of the testers. People in the office really got into this; we counted entries not only of Mexican employees but also Cambodian, Vietnamese, African-American and Anglo co-workers who submitted excellent salsitas.

The ceiling and tables were decorated with papel picado and piñatas which we later raffled off. We all wore our beautiful Mexican attire with pride and we were eager to show off how beautiful our traditional vestments are.

The music was selected with the utmost care making sure it was tasteful and exquisite; we did not have any problems there because Mexico has an extensive repertoire of amazing music. A beautiful video was shown so that our co-workers could see the beauty and magnificence of Mexico’s landscapes.

We ended our celebration by handing out little bags filled with Mexican sweets to thank each guest.

All in all, our Mexican cultural event was a lovely one. I enjoyed not only the actual event and how beautiful everything was, but also all the planning. I got to work with my compatriots who work in the office with me but who I don’t always have the opportunity to talk and mingle with as much as I would like. We are all very busy with our work and sometimes it is hard to get to know each other.

During the planning of this event, I was pleasantly surprised by wonderful paisanos in the office that are very proud of our country and Mexican heritage as much as I am. Many thanks to all my beautiful, talented co-workers; you made this celebration a memorable one for me!

*Thanks to my co-workers who provided some of these pictures, you know who you are.