Oaxacans: more than a decade of participating in the Hollywood Christmas Parade

For the thirteenth consecutive year, the Oaxacan community of Los Angeles participated in the Hollywood Christmas Parade, which this year celebrated its 90th anniversary on November 27.

The Angelenos who attended the traditional parade were able to enjoy the Giant Monkeys of Calenda de Ejutla, the Pluma Dancers of the Valley, the Chinas Oaxaqueñas and appreciate the clothing, music and dance of the different regions of Oaxaca.

“In 2013, the community of San Bartolomé Quialana de Oaxaca began to participate in the Hollywood Christmas Parade at the invitation of Francisco Sanz Polo Gabilondo, grandson of Francisco Gabilondo Soler Cri Cri,” says Fidel Gómez, activist and promoter of culture. Oaxacan in Los Angeles.

“Sanz Polo, who had the Camino a la Felicidad organization, introduced us to the parade. At first we started with fear”.

Oaxacan participants in the Hollywood Christmas Parade. (Courtesy)

Remember that at that time, around 15 people from Quiliana paraded with giant balloons.

“The following year, in 2014, 8 daughters of some of the Quiliana community with their typical costumes got on the Camino de la Felicidad float (the organization of which Cri Cri’s grandson was director).”

And he says that every year Quiliana’s Zapotec participation in the Hollywood Christmas Parade grew.

“In 2018 we brought a group of Quiliana Feather Dancers. In 2021, the teacher Graciela Molina and her folkloric dance group from her Oaxayacac ​​were invited, as well as the regional organization Oaxaca Oro; to the folkloric group of maestro Aldo Cruz, to the Nueva Antequera group of maestra Miriam López Ambrosio”.

He adds that the band Alma Oaxaqueña accompanied them with their music with its 20 members.

“This year we already had a coordinator for the participating groups, Isai Pazos.”

This 2022 the communities of San Bartolomé Quiliana, Tlacolula, Santiago Matatlán, and Ejutla de Crespo that came from Santa Bárbara joined.

But that was not all. “This year we added the marmots of San Mateo Maculxochitl and the Wind Band Lico Music Academic directed by maestro Raúl Lico made up of 32 musicians”.

Fidel says that the Hollywood Christmas Parade is an opportunity to make Oaxacan culture known, what they are and what they do

“We do it for our children so that they know their own people; but it is also an opportunity so that the Oaxacans themselves are not afraid to show their beliefs and their uses and customs. I encourage them not to feel ashamed to make our culture known”.

After 13 years of participating in the parades, Fidel, who has lived in the United States for more than 40 years, says that he feels very proud to go out to parade in the streets of Hollywood.

“The truth is that I did not fit in my shirt with emotion. We started with 15 and in this year’s parade we were already 70. We have nothing to envy to any culture”.

The folkloric group Huaxyacac ​​(historical name for Oaxaca), the first Oaxacan dance group to form in Los Angeles in 1989, participated in the Hollywood Christmas Parade.

“This is the second year that we participate in the festival thanks to the invitation of Mr. Fidel Gómez,” says Graciela Molina, director and teacher of the Oaxayacac ​​ballet.

“For us it is very exciting and fills us with great pride to represent the Oaxacan community.”

He explains that they walk and dance to the sound of the traditional music of a Oaxacan band.

“We wear different costumes from the 8 regions of Oaxaca. We try to ensure that everyone is represented. Each region has its specific clothing.

It reveals that this year about 30 dancers participated, among young people, and their mothers and fathers of families.

“We are shouting long live to Oaxaca, to Mexico, to its traditions, and also to Latinos.”

Calenda’s monkeys went out to the Hollywood Christmas Festival. (Courtesy)

Teacher Graciela says that participating in the Hollywood Christmas Parade is something to be very proud of.

“I can see it in each of the youngsters who accompany us. She is a joy to represent her roots and show her identity through her outfits, dance, and music.”

And remember that many of the folkloric ballet boys were born in the United States.

“The Hollywood Christmas Parade is a moment of great pride and demonstration of tenacity on the part of the Oaxacan community, since wherever they go, they bring their authentic clothing, their music and their folklore to exalt our traditions.”