Carnival is Coming
Friday 9th February is Day 1 of Latin America Week at the University of Edinburgh and it’s also Day 1 of Rio De Janeiro’s world famous street carnival. So, what better way to kick things off than with an Edinburgh Carnival!
For one night only, the biggest party on earth will be replicated in Potterrow! We spoke to Julio Crêlier Othon, the Brazilian president of the Edinburgh University Latin American Society who is at the helm of the organising committee.
Tell me a bit about the Latin American Society.
The Society is quite new, having existed for just five years now. Our aim is to primarily be a hub where Latin American students can gather, but we also aim to be open to people from different nationalities who are interested in our culture. We have been growing and this is the first time we have done an event this big!
Why did you want to organise the Edinburgh Carnival?
Throughout the academic year, we saw other regional societies organising balls that related to their culture. We thought “oh, but a ball has nothing to do with Latin American culture, but something that is related is carnival!” So in our attempt to make it as authentic as possible, we came up with the idea of having Brazilian decorations, regional appetisers and a samba school perform. We believe we are on the right path!
How will you bring the carnival atmosphere?
We have been working hard to create an authentic carnival atmosphere. I think people will feel this with the 26kg of decorations, which we brought straight from Brazil. Furthermore, the Samba School will definitely be important. Their passion for samba and Brazilian culture will definitely make you feel like you’re in Sapucai - the place in Rio where samba school parades take place. This will be the perfect carnival atmosphere, a space where people have fun, respect others and enjoy themselves in their own way – the curious costumes will portray this - under the sound of the carnival beats.
For people in Brazil, carnival is a party, which anyone can join “regardless of creed, social class or sex”.
What else can guests expect at the event?
I don’t know if I want to answer this, I think they should come and just wait to be surprised. This event will not only explore the typical Brazilian Carnival, but also other Latin American rhythms and cultures. I think it is going to be a party which people will definitely enjoy. Just a reminder – if possible, bring a costume, it is definitely going to make the event funnier!
Latin America Week
Latin America Week is a collaboration between some of the university societies (Latin American Society, Salsa Society, Chilean Society, and Mexican Society) and the Centre for Contemporary Latin American Studies (CCLAS). This year's edition offers a range of events and activities showcasing some of the centre’s research collaboration with the region as well as promoting local and regional cultures. The programme includes a variety of screenings, forums and exhibitions .
We asked Serguey Maximov, the current president of the Chilean Society what event we shouldn’t miss.
I would highlight the Latin American Village as the one everyone should attend, as it is the ideal opportunity to appreciate the diversity of the Latin American cultures. On this day, we will have stands from different countries displaying handicrafts and other artefacts. We will also have a display of Arpilleras (coloured patchwork pictures) from Argentina, Perú, the UK and Chile borrowed from a researcher's collection at Ulster University. At the same time, there will be some traditional food tasters, performances by musicians with folklore and popular music from different Latin American countries and some short documentary screenings.
In my opinion, the Latin American Week is for everyone, as it has different kinds of events, ranging from the Carnival, which will be a great party, to serious discussions and forums, with the possibility of learning about different aspects of Latin American cultures in all of them.
Edinburgh Carnival will take place on Friday 9th February at Potterrow from 8pm.
The Latin American Village will take place on Friday 16th February in the Teviot Debating Hall between 10am and 6pm.