The ancient Mexika new year this weekend will be celebrated by a new wave of young Latinos who are embracing the spiritual beliefs and traditional customs of their ancestors.
“It’s not just a little dance,” said Yei Tochtli Mitlapilli. “It’s a movement about identity and spirituality that were repressed for centuries but are now coming back”. But it’s also meant to showcase the indigenous diversity of the Bay Area and the shared heritage between North American and Mexican Indian communities.
Mexica is what the Aztecs called themselves in their nahuatl language.
The word also morphed into the name of the country after “New Spain” did not stick. Even so, according to Mitlapilli, the Mexica new year virtually disappeared under centuries of Spanish rule and Roman Catholic doctrine. He traces the custom’s resurrection to a small group of Aztec dancers who performed in the Zocalo, Mexico City’s central square, about 50 years ago in defiance of prohibitions against pre-Hispanic dancing in public.
2 Bay Area events:
1. Friday, San Francisco.
2. Saturday and Sunday, San Jose.