Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Puerto Rican Heritage Month Celebration at The New York Botanical Garden

Posted in Around the Garden, Learning Experiences on December 5 2016, by Elizabeth Figueroa

On Tuesday, November 22, NYBG held its annual Puerto Rican Heritage Month event celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of Puerto Ricans. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 400 pre-registered school groups and visitors attended workshops and presentations throughout the Watson Education Building, Ross Hall, and Ross Gallery.An array of facilitators led workshops commemorating Puerto Rican Heritage Month:

Olga Ayala showed attendees how to make a Vejigante while discovering their origins in the towns of Ponce and Loiza and their historical role.

Tanya Torres‘ workshop included painting a Taino symbol on a tile while learning about Puerto Rican culture.

Milteri Tucker led a presentation of Bomba dance and drumming history

Fordham University’s Community School Director, Nancy Rosario Rodriguez, acted as mistress of ceremonies during the second component of the program in the Ross Gallery and Ross Hall, with the keynote address given by Dr. Jacqueline Bocachica Gonzalez, Graduate School of Education at Fordham University. Bombazo Dance Company, the leading Bronx company for Afro-Puerto Rican drum and dance, conducted a special live presentation under the direction of Milteri Tucker that was engaging, entertaining, and educational.

The exhibition created by Virginia Guzman, NYBG volunteer, entailed traditional food, musical instruments, attire and a brief discussion on the connection between the New York Botanical Garden and El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico.

This community program is supported by the NYC Council’s A Greener NYC Initiative and Council members Andrew Cohen, Annabel Palma, and Ritchie Torres.


Jacqueline Bocachica Gonzalez said:

Felicidades to the NYBG and thank you so much for the opportunity to participate as the keynote speaker! The program was truly rich with the sounds, the flavor sand the warmth of Puerto Rico! It was an informative and interactive day of sharing Puerto Rican cultural heritage and inspiring one another to continue to build our children’s awareness of their history. THANKS to Elizabeth Figueroa and the NYBG TEAM for such a meaningful event!

Tanya said:

We had an amazing time painting and discovering the Taíno Symbols and Puerto Rican culture. The children created their own tile paintings and got creative with the symbols and the paint. Thank you Elizabeth for the opportunity to share the joy of creativity and Puerto Rican history and culture with these young scholars from the Bronx!

Olga Ayala said:

The kids had fun learning about the history of the Vejigante, and how their two distinct regional styles of costumes and masks are made. They especially got a kick out of hearing how the balloons the Vejigantes typically carry were made back in the olden days before latex was invented and how that played an important role in how the Vejigantes got their name while they enjoyed decorating and assembling their very own articulated Vejigante paper doll.

Thank you Elizabeth Figueroa for making this multi-disciplinary celebration of Puerto Rican art and culture an annual event at the NYBG and inviting me to be a small part of it!