Nuestra Identidad, Nuestro Sabor 22nd Annual Guelaguetza Cultural Festival Brings the Richness of Oaxaca to San Diego

July 5, 2017 – San Diego, CA – The Coalition of Indigenous Communities of Oaxaca (COCIO) and the Department of Anthropology at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) are proud to announce the 22nd Annual San Diego Guelaguetza Cultural Festival. The festival will take place on Sunday October 15th from 9am to 5pm at CSUSM’s Forum Plaza, featuring traditional Oaxacan dancers, food, art, vendors and cultural exhibits. This year’s celebration will be like no other, extending beyond the one-day event into a series of cultural events and workshops starting on October 7th. Southern Californians will have the rare opportunity to explore Oaxaca’s vibrant culture and gastronomic wonders right in San Diego!


COCIO is a San Diego-based cultural organization with the mission to promote, strengthen and encourage indigenous cultures practices in the Americas. For the past 22 years, COCIO has successfully celebrated the Oaxacan Guelaguetza Cultural Festival in San Diego, offering attendees a family-friendly atmosphere and a celebration modeled after the traditional annual Guelaguetza held in Oaxaca City, Mexico. Traditionally, the Guelaguetza, also known as Los lunes del cerro (Mondays on the hills), is an indigenous cultural event that serves as the opportunity for members of Oaxaca state’s diverse indigenous communities to come together to share their distinctive music, dance, dress, and food. In San Diego, this celebration symbolizes the coming together and unity of Mexican native communities, both in Mexico and in the United States.


This year’s Guelaguetza is expected to attract thousands of attendees, as in past years, and will have a stronger emphasis on the arts. Among the many unique experiences that will be offered, guests can attend a palm-weaving demonstration, a backstrap loom weaving demonstration, attend a mask-making workshop for children, an alebrije (colorful, imaginary creatures) painting session, or even immerse themselves in the traditional instrument exhibition. As with the traditional Guelaguetza, this celebration will feature live dances and music from the eight regions of Oaxaca, such as the Danza de Flor de Piña (Pineapple flower dance) and La Danza de los Diablos (The little devil’s dance). Additionally, vendors from across California and Oaxaca will converge to offer a wide variety of traditional Oaxacan foods, such as Mole, Tlayudas, Molotes, pastries, and aguas frescas. Oaxacan clothing, arts and crafts will also be available for purchase. Event proceeds will benefit community-based projects that aim to improve the health and well being of Mexican indigenous communities in Southern California and Oaxaca.

The community is also invited to the events that will lead up to the guelaguetza. On September 9th, COCIO, in partnership with the Comite de San Jeronimo Silacayoapilla in Poway will kick off the Oaxacan festivities with a kermes (community party used for fundraising), featuring traditional Oaxacan food and music, visit www.sanjeronimosilacayoapilla.com for more information. Then, on October 7th, COCIO will host a series of Oaxacan workshops, giving community members the opportunity to learn more, visit www.cocio.org for details.

For more than 20 years, CSUSM’s Department of Anthropology has collaborated with indigenous communities from Oaxaca in San Diego’s North County as a way to reciprocate and deepen a long standing and collaborative partnership with the community. This partnership is intricately tied with the delivery of the department’s community based field courses and benefits both students and the community at large.

Tickets for the Guelaguetza Cultural Celebration are now on sale at www.cocio.org. Adult tickets can be purchased for $9, while children 10 years and under and CSUSM Students with valid ID enjoy free entrance. Complimentary parking is available in CSUSM’s Lot C.  

For festival or vendor information call (619) 245-7538 or visit www.cocio.org.

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