By Dalton Amador
About 50 people, plus a few dozen dancers, gathered at Mission campus March 11 for a six-hour long celebration of the Aztec New Year, which began at midnight.
The celebration took a somber tone as participants also remembered Ernesto “Xe” Acosta Gonzalez, a City College student who was murdered Feb. 10.
“Xe is going to dance with us one last time tonight,” Xe’s father, Mazatzin Acosta, said. “We have the most beautiful calendar in the world,” he said, pointing to the Aztec calendar that hangs above the entrance to Mission campus.
“Not just a piece of art or a piece of culture. It took our grandfathers hundreds of years to make it,” Acosta said.
After his rousing speech, participants in traditional, ornate Aztec costumes complete with loincloths and feathers performed several dances.
Prior to Acosta’s introductory remarks, the performers waved burning copal, a resin, around each other, meant to cleanse those involved in the sacred ritual. Onlookers were also offered “cleansings,” and a line composed of about 20 people quickly formed.
The previous hour was a celebration of a decidedly different vibe.
The Bernal Beat, a band led by Jose Najera that offers an eclectic blend of blues-rock and salsa, played at the opposite end of campus on the corner of 22nd and Bartlett Street. The Valencia Street side of Mission campus was blocked for the event.
Students bustled to and from class as the band played.
Despite the groovy nature of the music, no one danced. The band did, however, receive hearty applause after every song.
The celebration also included a community dinner and open mic performances.