Noche de Cultura

By Mrs. Katie Ritter Torres

The Middle and Upper School Spanish Department hosted its second Noche de Cultura, or culture night, on Friday, November 10. At this event, we aim to celebrate and educate students on Spanish-speaking cultures through authentic food, games, sports, activities, crafts, dance, music, movies, and more presented by individuals who have personal experience with them. The event provides YCDS students with the opportunity to interact with native speakers of Spanish and it is an opportunity to build connections between YCDS and the greater community.

This year, more than sixty middle and upper school students attended Noche de Cultura. Each activity, decoration, and food was chosen with much thought in the hopes of introducing our students to a variety of Spanish-speaking cultures.  Colorful banners of Mexican papel picado hung across the dining hall and a Spanish radio station out of Miami set the scene for students’ arrival. Hungry attendees munched on guacamole made by Mr. Torres, salsa,  and tortilla chips from Tacos y Tortas in Hanover. Students also tried a variety of beverages: tamarindo, horchata, and different flavors of Jarritos sodas.


Leonetti Entertainment provided salsa lessons for the students in attendance. We definitely have some budding salseros in our school!


After the lesson, students lined up for tacos by Tacos y Tortas Palmas. It was a brisk night, but students braved the cold to order tacos of their choice: chicken, beef, chorizo (spicy Mexican sausage), and pork. Some students even ordered in Spanish! Inside, a typical Costa Rican dish of rice and beans called gallo pinto awaited students. Our very own Mr. Fleming made this dish after much research and remembering the words of his host mom in Costa Rica. Most would agree that Lizano, a special bottled sauce that Mr. Fleming had to order, is what makes this dish. Students also enjoyed fried and salted plantains made fresh at culture night.


Other activities of the evening included trompos and abanicos. Trompos are old-fashioned spinning tops that children in many Spanish-speaking countries play with to this day. Students attempted to get the tops to spin and then do tricks with them. They viewed YouTube video tutorials of professionals their age in Spanish-speaking countries. It is certainly harder than it looks! Students also had the opportunity to paint abanicos, hand fans that are popular in Spain. They turned out beautifully! We concluded the evening with the viewing of a trailer in Spanish for the Disney Pixar movie Coco and a few short films: Juan y la nube, Sinceridad, El regalo, and Viaje a Marte.

We hope students tried something new and had fun at culture night. The next one is tentatively scheduled for October 19, 2018. If you or someone you know has personal experience with authentic food, games, sports, activities, crafts, dance, music, movies, etc. from a Spanish-speaking country that you would like to share at a future culture night, please email Katie Ritter Torres at ¡Gracias!