By ALTAGRACIA RUIZ, NBTHS Spanish Teacher
March 20, 2019
NBTHS is proud of its diverse community. We strive to recognize and celebrate all cultures throughout the year. We recently had an opportunity to celebrate the Dominican Republic's Independence.
On February 27th, Spanish teacher Mrs. Ruiz brought in various artifacts to celebrate the DR's Independence Day. Some of the items shared with students were foods typical to the DR: a country club drink, yucca, platano, batata, and salami - all used for a typical Dominican breakfast or lunch. Other items include a guirra and tambora, used to accompany classic Dominican music called merengue. The piece de resistance was a mask used by "Diablo Cojuelo", part of a costume used by many Dominicans in "El Carnaval Vegano". The mask and the costume are part of an old tradition that has the Diablo Cojuelo fend off bad spirits that would interrupt the independence celebration.
In the Dominican Republic the celebration lasts the entire month of February and every Sunday the costumed Diablo Cojuelos fill the streets to celebrate. These characters also walk around with "La Vejiga", a hard round ball on a rope that is swung around to get rid of the "bad spirits". While in modern-day celebration people don't believe in bad spirits, Dominicans keep the tradition of the Carnaval to celebrate their independence.
Mrs. Ruiz shares Dominican foods and artifacts with her class on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at North Brunswick Township High School. Photos Courtesy of Suzan Ezdinli-Palazzo.
By exposing our students to other cultures, we instill a curiosity for learning. Also, by sharing artifacts from another country, we open students' world beyond North Brunswick's boundaries. We don't always have the opportunity to travel, but we can always bring other worlds to our classrooms.