“Luz de las Naciones,” a celebration of Latin American culture, will be back in the Conference Center on Saturday, Nov. 5, reported ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The “Light of the Nations” celebration was virtual in 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic measures.
The theme this year is “Juntos es Mejor,” or “Better Together,” and Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will participate in the event. This year’s celebration includes more than 500 musical artists and 11 dance performances from several Latin American countries, including the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico and Cuba. Performers represent several countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Peru.
“We are grateful to welcome our Hispanic members and other friends in the community to join with us in celebrating the beautiful culture we share as neighbors,” said Elder Federico M. Kähnlein, an Area Seventy. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to gather once again in person at the Conference Center.”
Tickets are free, but required, and will be available starting Oct. 12, at 10 a.m. MDT on luzdelasnaciones.org. Due to construction on Temple Square, parking is limited, in-person attendance will be restricted and every ticket will include a free public transportation pass to downtown Salt Lake City through UTA.
It will also be available for on-demand viewing on Nov. 19.
“We bring that Latino feeling to feeling [God’s love] and it’s just a really enjoyable event,” said cast member Tonali Bruno, 17, whose family has been participating in the celebrations for several years. “Being able to dance the dances that bring me back to my Mexican roots is something that is really special because you don’t get it every day.”
The first “Luz de las Naciones” event was in 2002. The roots of the stretch back to the 1920s when missionaries began sharing the gospel in Spanish to Mexicans in Salt Lake City, according to the Church News archives. Within a few years, a Spanish-speaking branch was created. By 1960, it had grown and was known as the Lucero Ward. Performing traditional dances and music helped preserve their culture and has been part of the congregation since those early days — and included a group that performed in the 1930 Church centennial celebration in the Tabernacle. As it was passed down to succeeding generations, those influenced by these groups helped produce what is now known as “Luz de las Naciones.”
The events the past two years have been virtual with segments recorded in a variety of locations. In 2021, it included musical traditions from Central and South America and the Caribbean, including traditional Mexican dance with multicolored skirts and wide sombreros, an Andean-influenced dance filmed on Utah’s distinctive Salt Flats, and singing and dancing on an urban modern-day set. The theme was “Una Luz Para Todos” — “A Light for All.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered a message of hope and light in Spanish near the conclusion of the program.
“Through technology, you have been able to break the barriers of distance and have managed to unite to share songs, dances and love for God in an atmosphere of genuine brotherhood,” he said.
Elder Christofferson pointed to how the Lord teaches that there is light in His followers — and that He is the light that others will see when His disciples follow His example.
“The light of Christ is a light of hope, which guides us and gives us confidence that if we are faithful things will finally be fine and we will be comforted,” Elder Christofferson said.