July 15, 2005

Sixth Annual Cal State San Marcos Guelaguetza Celebrates Oaxaca

For the sixth year, the culture and traditions of Oaxaca, Mexico, will be celebrated at Cal State San Marcos during Guelaguetza, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun., July 24, 2005, on the campus’ lower field (corner of S. Twin Oaks Valley Road and Craven Road).

This family event is modeled after the yearly festival held in Oaxaca City each July, during which members of many of the region’s 23 indigenous groups share their distinctive music, dance, dress, and food. A Zapotec word signifying offering or offertory, Guelaguetza traditionally was a ceremony and celebration held each year in Oaxaca to pacify the gods in return for sufficient rain and a bountiful harvest.

The event, which attracts thousands of community members each year, is hosted by Cal State San Marcos and sponsored by the Coalition of Indigenous Communities of Oaxaca (COCIO) in collaboration with the student group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA). COCIO is a grassroots cultural organization in North County made up of Mixtec, Zapotec, Chinantec, Mixe, and other indigenous Oaxacan members. California is home to more than 60,000 Mixtec-speaking people, with 25,000 residing in San Diego County. 

The celebration will include a parade featuring the different Oaxacan dance groups and musicians, Xiuxtla, Antequera, Macuiltianguis, Banda Yazachi el Bajo y Banda Natividad, a formal recognition of invited dignitaries, and music and dance performances throughout the day. Traditional foods, such as Tlayudas (corn tortillas) and mole, and arts and crafts will be available for purchase. Information about local community and university services will also be available.

The Guelaguetza at Cal State San Marcos is open to everyone, and a $6 donation is requested per person. Funds will go toward the costs of the event and to community building projects in Oaxaca. Children under 10 may attend for free. For more information, call 760/840-0361.

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