City celebrates Dia de la Raza at Gorton Quad

With aid from MEChA, City’s Spanish Club hosted its annual Dia de la Raza celebration at Gorton Quad on Oct. 12.
As opposed to celebrating Columbus Day, Mexico observes Dia de la Raza, which roughly translates as “Day of the Race.” However, these two holidays possess radically different views on a pivotal point in history. While Columbus Day accredits the discovery of America to Christopher Columbus, Dia de la Raza assesses that “America” was inhibited long before the alleged discovery.
“I strongly believe that the truth is not told,” Beto Vasquez, Spanish Club president, said. “It’s not until you start turning over stones about the magnificent cultures that existed there that you’ll find it out.”
Vasquez says that the goal of the festivities is to educate the students on what he and many others feel is the truth.
“(Columbus) discovered America even though we were already here,” guest speaker Stanley Rodriguez, from one of the American Indian reservations in Julian, said. “All of these [tribes] were affected by Columbus. People were enslaved or extinguished.”
However, the Spanish Club ensured to make the festivities both fun and educational by selecting presentations that integrate both.
Dia de la Raza totes mariachi music, folklorico dancing and affordable food as well as singing and dancing competitions for the audience to take part in.
“I think it’s cool because they’re expressing themselves and their culture,” Jonathan Vasqeuz, an audience member, said.
The singing and dancing competitions had a number or participants, inciting laughter from the crowd.
There were also educational booths, set up along Gorton Quad to educate the students on a number of indigenous tribes such as the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs. Each booth offered a slew of information on their respective tribes ranging from the contents of their diet, innovative weaponry, spiritual beliefs, etc.
“The [Incan] culture itself, their focal point is their gods,” Cecile Vasquez, working at the Inca booth, said. “Every month was a festival to celebrate one of them.”
This importance of spirituality is reiterated by the Aztec dancers who divulged the significance of the East, West, North, South as well as their Father Sun and Mother Earth. They performed a few dances praising said regions.
With their colorful beaded outfits, gigantic feathered headdresses and jingling nutshells tied around their ankles, it’s easy to see why these dancers were the main event. They danced in tandem with the beat of their drum, sounded conch shells and trilled into the air, enticing the audience and passersby. At one point the crowd was encouraged to join them for a set.
“That was so sick,” an audience member said. “Just imagine them doing that centuries ago when they did sacrifices.”

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City celebrates Dia de la Raza at Gorton Quad