Rain or shine, dancers in colorful feathered headdresses will gather at City College’s Mission Campus at 1125 Valencia St. on March 11 to ring in the Mexika New Year. The ceremony is based on the ancient calendar — a tile replica of the calendar, whose diameter spans 27 feet, currently decorates the college’s main entrance.
For some two decades, Mazatzin Acosta has studied and shared the knowledge of the calendar system and the ancient cultures that lived according to its rhythm, with the goal of making it accessible to all.
“This is not an Aztec thing, it’s not a Mayan thing — its human experience,” said Mazatzin, describing the ceremony. With the help of his community, Mazatzin organized the first Mexika New Year ceremony at the college in 2007, and it has since grown into an annual celebration that draws members from the Mission community and beyond. In 2010, the city issued a proclamation officially recognizing Mexika New Year as as a cultural celebration.
“Our ancestors used to study the stars and the sun and the moon, and this new year is just the start of a new cycle of that calendar,” said Marcelo Vega, who has helped organize the event this year. “We want this year to be the biggest celebration yet.”
Traditional Aztec dance and drumming, local bands People’s Tree, Bayonics, Loco Bloco and Bernal Beats will be performing throughout the evening, and vendors will set up shop on campus. Vega said that he hopes to give the celebration a bit of a “block party” feel.
“We will have different Latino and Mission-based organizations giving out information. It’s community building,” said Vega. “It’s a community event, put on by the community for the community.”
But organizers intend for the event to be more than just a party. Participants are encouraged to bring books to exchange with one another, and a “Stay Warm Drive” will be collecting donated blankets and socks to pass on to the homeless.
“I grew up in San Francisco and went to school here, and seeing the growing homeless population treated the way it has been…they are being pushed out and not given any solutions. We just want to contribute any way that we can,” said Vega. The donated items will be handed out to the homeless by participating community members at noon on Saturday, March 12 at La Raza Park.
“We are all part of it. The calendar is a universal thing and it really is for all people,” said organizer Mauricio Rivera. “We tried to think of ways that we can exemplify that.”
Those familiar with the count will enter new year tomorrow at sundown, and for those who would like to learn more, Mazatzin will be there to give impromptu lessons on the cycles of the calendar.
The Mexika New Year Celebration will take place from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 1125 Valencia st. on March 11. More information about the event is available on Facebook.