ROCHESTER — A local museum and the University of Rochester will hold events in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The events also will showcase the diversity of the Latino culture, according to organizers.
The fifth-annual Hispanic Family Day at the Memorial Art Gallery Sept. 28 will feature presentations related to the theme “Timeless Traditions without Borders,” said Debora McDell-Hern√°ndez, the gallery’s coordinator of community programs and outreach and a member of the event’s steering committee.
“People maintain traditions regardless of where they might be taken geography-wise, whether they’re (living) here or Mexico or Argentina or Buffalo,” she noted.
During the event, two local professors will highlight Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations, and another anthropologist will present information about the west African Yoruba culture and its Ibeji figures, McDell-Hern√°ndez added. The figures relate to the birth of twins common in that African region and among the Yoruba people, she explained. The figures memorialize and are believed to hold the spirits of deceased twins, McDell-Hern√°ndez added. Some of these Yoruba traditions still can be found in such areas of the Caribbean as Cuba and Puerto Rico as well as Brazil, she said.
Members of a local Panamanian family also will wear traditional dresses of the indigenous Kuna tribe, and they will demonstrate a native custom that features el “diablo sucio,” McDell-Hern√°ndez added.
Other countries and regions that will be represented by dance or musical performances include Venezuela, Cuba and Puerto Rico, she said, and the opening ceremony will include a procession to recognize the volunteers who set up cultural displays in the main ballroom.
Although the Rochester Museum & Science Center will not host a Hispanic heritage event this year, it continues its work collecting donations for the Latino Documentation Project, said Bart Roselli, the museum’s vice president for collections and programs. The project, a joint effort between the museum and the Latino Alliance, began about four years ago.
“We’re continuing our work behind the scenes with the Latino community … to identify historical pieces in their own collections,” he said.
The items currently at the museum may be viewed upon appointment, Roselli said. The collections also could be incorporated into other museum exhibits in the future, he added.
At the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, the Latino Professional Alliance will hold its second-annual Latino Cultural and Networking Fair on Sept. 30, said Jeanette Colby, chairwoman of the alliance’s cultural committee.
Last year’s inaugural event attracted about 100 people, Colby said. Since the event is held in the school’s Sarah Flaum atrium, people can walk through and get information from groups that set up tables there, she added. Visitors this year also may watch demonstrations by Inikori Dance Studio staff members as well as flamenco dancers and a trumpet player, Colby said.
The alliance currently has about 80 members, she noted.
“It’s an opportunity for Latinos to get together and celebrate our heritage,” Colby remarked.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information about Hispanic Family Day, which will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Memorial Art Gallery, call 585-276-8967. For information about the Latino Cultural and Networking Fair scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 30, call 585-276-3521. To view collections in the Latino Documentation Project, call 585-271-4552.
Rochester’s Holy Apostles Church also has planned a Hispanic heritage event, which will follow its 11:30 a.m. Spanish Mass Sept. 28. For more information on this event, call 585-254-7170.