September 19, 2008

13th Annual Guelaguetza Celebrates Oaxacan Culture at CSUSM

The culture and traditions of Oaxaca, Mexico, will be celebrated at Cal State San Marcos during the 13th annual Guelaguetza, noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 28 on the campus’ Forum Plaza. This is the largest Guelaguetza celebration is the San Diego region and the eighth year it is being held on the CSUSM campus, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road.

Admission is $5 and includes parking. Children under 10 are free. For more information in English, call (760) 750-8567 or in Spanish, (619) 254-0404.

The celebration will feature Oaxacan dance groups and musicians. Traditional foods, such as tlayudas (corn tortillas) and nopales (cactus), and arts and crafts will be available for purchase. Information about local community and university services will also be available.

This family event is modeled after the yearly festival held in Oaxaca City each July, during which members of the region’s 23 indigenous groups come together to share their distinctive music, dance, dress, and food. A Zapotec word signifying offering or reciprocity, Guelaguetza traditionally was a ceremony and celebration to pacify the gods in return for sufficient rain and a bountiful harvest. This ceremony also symbolizes the coming together and unity of Oaxacan communities both in Oaxaca and abroad. The Oaxacan indigenous community in California is one of the newest and fastest growing.

The event, which attracts thousands of community members each year, is sponsored by the Coalition of Indigenous Communities of Oaxaca (COCIO) in collaboration with the student group Oaxaca Student Organization (OSO) and the CSUSM Department of Anthropology. COCIO is a grassroots organization in North County made up of Mixtec, Zapotec, Chinantec, Trique, Mixe, and other indigenous Oaxacan communities which have come together to foster and celebrate Oaxacan culture as well as to create projects that benefit the Oaxacan Community.

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