By Ryan Masters, Santa Cruz Sentinel
SANTA CRUZ >> When the Spanish colonizers imposed Catholicism on the indigenous communities of Oaxaca in the 16th century, forcing them to covert to Christianity, the native people resisted by blending elements of their rituals into this new religion.
This blend of cultures is celebrated as Guelaguetza, which is a Zapotec Indian word that means “gift of sharing.” It’s an annual festival celebrated in the seven regions of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, but increasingly in communities in the United States as well.
In its 11th year, Santa Cruz’s Vive Oaxaca Guelaguetza brings together the region’s Oaxacan community on the Harbor High School football field to honor the gods for providing ample rain and a bountiful harvest with music, dance, food and an open air market.
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