By Laurie Maemura
Over 100 people attended Mission campus on March 12, 2017 to celebrate its 10 annual Aztec Mexika New Year to honor those lost from gun violence and hate crimes.
City College cultural teacher Guadalupe Casas Acosta who goes by Mazatzin Acosta has organized Mexika New Year in front of the Mission campus building since 2008 along with the student organization Toltecayotl, which refers to the Mesoamerican indigenous members in the Toltec civilization.
The three to five hour celebration featured guest speakers, an open mic for solidarity statements and traditional multi-cultural music and concheros dances by the Mexika Danza (dancer) representatives.
At sundown on Valencia Street, young and older danzantes wore feathered headdresses during a ceremonial dance led by Mazatzin Acosta.
Through a series of songs the harmonious syncopation of traditional percussion instruments and tinkling ayoyotes on danzantes’ ankles, drew curious passersby and tourists with photo cameras in hand.
Nestled between 22nd and 23rd street, a colorful 27-foot tile depiction of the Aztec calendar rested in the front of the exterior of the Mission campus building.
In 2007 Mazatzin strongly participated in the placement of the Aztec agricultural calendar known as “Xiuhpohualli.” Based on the sun, the calendar dates back to ancient Mesoamerica times and describes 365 days with rituals related to the seasons.
According to the calendar, March 12 places a significant celebration on New Year 5 House Kalli. In Aztec culture “The House” represents “our home, refuge and house of thoughts; a safe place for reflection and regrouping for the comprehension of all living beings.”
Six-year danza who goes by Melaztic said all the individuals united together symbolizes Mexika culture: “We open up to welcome new energies.”
As curious onlookers tapped their shoes to the rhythm of the reverberation, the smoke of burning sage rose from the ground then disappeared in the lamplight lined street.
A dedicated Mexika danza, Adriana B. who was watching the event added said, “It’s a celebration transformation of a new life, a new cycle. The beginning mark of spring time. Rebirth!” Although the danzantes visited from different locations, their shared values of identity and spirituality were present in the ceremonial dances.
After giving thanks to the audience for attending the event, Acosta said the value of bringing individuals of all backgrounds commemorated the new year. While they clapped and dined on made-to-order chicken,vegetable pupusas and light refreshments, the audience and Acosta left in high spirits.