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‘Centéotl, The Utmost Oaxacan Fiesta’

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The Cultural Organization YUHUA and the Monumental Band with Class, from Oaxaca (wah-HAH-kah), Mexico, will present a vibrant cultural performance at the Pioneer Theatre Company on Tuesday, July 16, 2024, from 7-9 p.m. This non-ticketed event is free and open to the public, promising an evening of magic, culture and tradition.

“Centéotl, The Utmost Oaxacan Fiesta” is a tribute to Centéotl (sen-TEH-ohtl), the Goddess of Maize, celebrated annually in Oaxaca during the month of July. This performance offers a unique opportunity to witness a 3,000-year-old tradition that honors the Goddess of Corn, ensuring rainfall and bountiful harvests. The event will showcase traditional dances from the eight regions of Oaxaca, with performers dressed in their regional attire, reflecting the rich cultural diversity of this Mexican state.

Founded in 1996, by professor Gabriel Díaz Ramírez, the Cultural Organization YUHUA has garnered international acclaim for its performances at prestigious festivals worldwide. Their accolades include participation in the International Folklore Festival in Boston, the International Folk Fest in Zacatecas, Mexico, and the Fiesta Mexicana Festival in Osaka, Japan. YUHUA has also made significant contributions to festivals across Mexico, including Coahuila (koh-ah-WEE-lah), Chiapas (chee-AH-pahs), Guanajuato (gwah-nah-HWAH-toh), Guerrero (geh-REH-roh) and more.

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Ramírez, YUHUA’s general director and choreographer, has received numerous recognitions for his work promoting Oaxaca’s cultural heritage. Notably, he played a pivotal role in organizing the first official Guelaguetza (geh-lah-GEHT-sah) in Los Angeles in 2002. Under his leadership, YUHUA became the first Mexican group to bring Oaxaca’s culture to Romania in 2014.

The Guelaguetza, meaning “offering” in the Zapotec (ZAH-poh-tehk) language, is one of the most significant celebrations in Oaxaca. Communities come together to honor Centéotl with gifts and offerings, a tradition that has evolved yet remains deeply rooted in Oaxacan culture. This July 16, Salt Lake City residents will have the rare opportunity to experience this cultural gem firsthand.

Oaxaca and Monte Albán (MOHN-teh ahl-BAHN), designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1987, are known for their historical and cultural significance. This performance not only celebrates Oaxacan traditions but also highlights the connections between the indigenous cultures of Oaxaca and Utah, particularly through the shared reverence for the Goddess of Corn.

Join us at the Pioneer Theatre Company for an unforgettable evening of Oaxacan culture. Immerse yourself in the vibrant traditions, dances and music that have captivated audiences around the globe. Don’t miss this chance to enrich your understanding of a unique cultural heritage.

Click to watch the promotional video below.