This Miami Life
8:30 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Cultural Salute Turns Miami's 'Big Orange' New Years Bash Into 'La Gran Naranja'

Mr. Neon: He'll preside over La Gran Naranja from now on, not the Big Orange.
Mr. Neon: He'll preside over La Gran Naranja from now on, not the Big Orange.

More multicultural change is coming to Miami in time for New Year's Eve. It’s been decided the city's official end-of-the-year street party should be translated from "The Big Orange" to "La Gran Naranja."

The party is a big event with a big, illuminated mascot, an anthropomorphic orange in sunglasses called Mr. Neon, which rises and falls on the front face of the Intercontinental Hotel to signal the beginning of fireworks and the arrival of the New Year.

Why the language change? History. 2013 will be the 500th anniversary of the introduction of the orange into Florida by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon. State tourism officials are preparing a statewide Viva Florida 500 celebration in honor of Florida multiculturalism and agriculture. The city of Miami and the Greater Miami Host Committee jumped aboard with La Gran Naranja.

The change has needled a lot of web site commenters. Look what they're telling Channel 10.

It is the Orange Bowl and NOT the Naranja Bowl. This is just crazy and disrespectful to the non Latino population. I would be happy to make it a Latino flavored event but to change the name is wrong!

What do you think? Generous acknowledgment of our state's complex roots? Or a gratuitous slam at Florida's Anglo culture?