Thousands attend Latin American cultural celebration held at Conference Center

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Conference Center hosted their annual multilingual fiesta Saturday evening

With more than 20,000 people in attendance, the 90-minute cultural celebration of Luz de las Naciones (Light of the Nations in English) featured a cast of over 1,000 volunteers who performed song, dance and narration in traditional clothing from cultures throughout Latin America.

The church said the program’s official theme, “A Home for All,” focuses on families, heritage and a sense of belonging.

“A home for all means that although sometimes we . . . feel a little alone or lost, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is always a place for everyone,” said Elder Jorge T. Becerra, an Area Seventy who works with more than 140 Latino Church congregations across Utah.

“Through music, dance and Latin traditions, we send a symbolic hug to all attendees who celebrate with us our cultures and our love for Jesus Christ,” Elder Becerra added.

Israel González-Nieri, music director of the event, worked with the choir of adults and children numbering more than 300 voices from most countries of Latin America, Spain, the United States and Equatorial Guinea (Africa).

Other performers included BYU a capella women’s group, soloists, and a mariachi band.

“Tonight, we celebrate families,” said Elder Walter F. González, a counselor in the Utah area presidency, as part of the concert’s opening remarks. “We will do it through the memory of our cultural traditions. We will do it based on the principles of love and unity taught by our savior Jesus Christ.”

Families of all ages attended the free concert on a date that coincides with the Day of the Dead, a holiday that some countries celebrate to remember friends and family members who have passed away.

“It’s a special day for Mexican, Central American and South American people,” said Elder Pedro Xavier Larreal Noguera, a member of the Utah Area Seventy.

Elder Noguera, who is originally from Venezuela, explained that the program’s purpose is to help people “enjoy family, community and the gospel.”

The evening was also filled with traditional and contemporary Latin American music, colorful clothing and an 18-foot-tall piñata.

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