Carnival celebrated in front of UT Tower to expose students to different cultures on campus

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From left, psychology junior Eric Cain and business honors junior Jada Davis dance Samba in a crowd with the guidance of Imani Aanu, Austin Samba dance director, at the Main Mall during the Carnival on Tuesday. UT Caribbean Students Association hosted this event to display a variety of Caribbean food and performances for students.

Photo Credit: Jamie Hwang | Daily Texan Staff

Students gathered in front of the UT Tower on Tuesday to celebrate the Carnival festival by watching a steel pan band and samba dancers. 

Carnival is a traditionally Christian holiday celebrated the week before Lent in February with music, dancing, masquerades, costumes and parades, and it is considered one of Brazil’s biggest festivals. The event was hosted by Campus Events and Entertainment African American Culture Committee and the Caribbean Student Association. 

Alexia Harvey, president of the Caribbean Student Association, said that while one of the largest Carnival celebrations happens in Brazil, it is celebrated all over the world, including the Caribbean.

“Right now in the Caribbean, this is Carnival season, so we decided it would be a good tribute to the Caribbean and also a way to inform the UT population on what Carnival is,” Harvey said. 

There were also hatmaking stations and masquerades to create some of the decorations and costumes used in South America and the Caribbean during Carnival. 

Also featured was Austin Samba, a dance group dedicated to performing Brazilian dances. 

“Now that we’ve just come out of the annual Carnival season, I think many people around the world have been celebrating with their friends and family in Brazil this whole Carnival, and so they see Samba expressed,” said Imani Aanu, a dance director at Austin Samba. 

Harvey said she wants people to learn from the event that the Caribbean is made up of many different cultures. 

“It’s a little bit different, but there’s also a lot of similarities with many other cultures in terms of the music style and dancing and stuff like that,” Harvey said. 

Wendy Rodriguez, communication and leadership junior, said it is beneficial to hold events that celebrate other cultures. 

“We all come from everywhere, from all over the world, and it’s just important that we each feel safe and have a safe space here at UT to show that to everyone else and celebrate our differences and beautiful traditions,” Rodriguez said. 

Sociology freshman Taylor Walker said it is important to showcase other cultures like this at UT. 

“We’re in Central Texas,” Walker said. “When you have other events that showcase different cultures, you get to expose not only the culture, but other people to it. So then you also increase a sensitivity to other cultures that you might not experience from back home.”