El Dia de los Niños: Beloit
A Time for Celebration
Living in Beloit is like living in a social paradise. You get the chance to experience so many great cultures. Recently I had the opportunity to be a part of El Dia de los Niños. This is a day our Latino community recognizes children, pays homage to their importance in society, and endorses their well being. What a joyous celebration! Entertainment, food, games, bouncy houses, piñatas, sponsors, supporters, and the public all came together on April 26th at St Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church to celebrate El Dia de los Niños. This marked the sixth year of the celebration which serves as a major fundraiser for the Latino Service Providers. The tasty food, the buzz of people greeting one another, and the children running around playing games made the atmosphere electric. This year El Dia del Niños and Cinco de Mayo were combined into one festivity and hosted by Latino Service Providers and Even Start Family Literacy Program.
El Dia de los Niños
El Dia de los Niños is an annual event, celebrated on April 30th. The celebration is fun and exciting centered around children’s interests, developing skills, instilling confidence, involving families and community, reflecting cultural diversity, inspiring and empowering new generations of achievers, creating advocacy for children issues, and engaging civic leaders, media, sponsors and volunteers. Focus is on the children and having fun. All kids walk away with a prize, food, and a good time.
Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage, pride, culture (especially in its music and dancing) and cuisine. It marks victory by a heavily outmatched Mexican army which started a chain of events that led to Mexico’s independence.
A Word about Our Co-Hosts
The Latino Service Providers serves the Latino population of the City of Beloit who are Spanish speaking individuals learning English as a second language. The organization assists these individuals in finding food, medical assistance, completing paperwork (birth certificates and immigration documentation), finding doctors and education and much more. The ultimate goal is help the Latino community gain access to the services and education they need to lead more enjoyable and productive lives and get more involved as part of the Beloit Community. The Even Start Family Literacy Program is a collaboration between the School District of Beloit and Blackhawks Technical College where the entire family attends classes together. The parents learn English as a second language and the children from birth to age 4 learn English in their own classrooms. The children attending Even Start are very well prepared for Kindergarten.
A Time to Dance
The highlight of the day, besides the beautiful people with smiles and happy greetings, was the dancing by the Even Start dancers. It was absolutely fantastic! The energy, smiles and teamwork showed that the children & their families have a lot of pride in their heritage. The crowd was very loud in support and appreciation. Beautiful costumes, masks and other articles of clothing were worn to replicate their cultural heritage. And did they have fun! Especially the young boys doing the Old Men dance. The crowd, with many standing to get a better view and take photos, was shouting, cheering and clapping encouragement. As the day came to an end, the piñatas were broken and the children scrambled to get the treats inside. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful celebration. Viva la historia! If you didn’t know! Now you know!