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Courtesy Gillian Galambos

Mexico Days celebrate Mexican culture on campus

By Saima Asad, November 7 2016 —



Four Mexico Days take place between Nov. 2 and Dec. 1. // Photo courtesy Gillian Galambos

The University of Calgary is hosting multiple Mexico Days events until Dec. 1 to mark its third annual celebration of Mexican and Latin American culture.

Mexico Days is traditionally celebrated in November at the U of C. This year, events took place on Nov. 2, Nov. 3 and Nov. 10, with another event scheduled for Dec. 1.

“[Mexico Days] allows us to bring a spotlight on all the different collaboration that’s going on with Mexico,” U of C regional manager for the Americas Jen Avaz said. “It’s a chance also for some cross cultural learning [because] there’s so many different kinds of events going on.”

Mexico Days began three years ago after the U of C established its international strategy, which identified Mexico as a region of emphasis. The other five regions of emphasis in the strategy are the United States, Germany, China, the Middle East and East Africa.

The first Mexico Day of 2016 was held on Nov. 2 to coincide with the Mexican holiday “Día de Muertos” — the Day of the Dead. The Latin American Students Association, Latin American Studies program and the Mexican Consulate in Calgary collaborated for the event.

A main feature on Nov. 2 was an “Altares” competition, where participants competed to design the best Day of the Dead altar. A representative from the Mexican Consulate judged the designs. A traditional Mexican sugar skull workshop was also held at noon on the same day.

The following event on Nov. 3 began with a smudging ceremony from Anita Eagle Bear, a traditional knowledge keeper for the Blackfoot Nation. Afterwards, Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez — a Zapotec scholar at the University of Alberta whose research focuses on indigenous and feminist perspectives — delivered a keynote speech. The event ended with a panel discussion, photography exhibit and live music performance.

Avaz said Altamirano-Jiménez’s keynote focused on the philosophy of “Buen Vivir.”

“Generally speaking, you could maybe think of it as collective well-being, including all creation,” Avaz said.

The U of C’s next Mexico Day was on Nov. 10, when the Mexican Consulate hosted their Tastes of Mexico event at the Calgary Petroleum Club. The $135 entry to the event included a six-course menu designed to celebrate cuisine from the Yucatán Peninsula in southern Mexico.

This year’s final Mexico Day will be held on Dec. 1. Film director Emilio Maillé will deliver a talk on the history of Mexican film in Social Sciences 203 at 6:00 p.m.

Avaz said all Mexico Day events on campus are free of charge and open to any U of C students and faculty members, as well as members of the public.

“We hope that they will enjoy connecting with other cultures and get stimulated by new ideas, become more aware of all of the different collaborations that are going on and how they might want to get involved,” Avaz said. 

Correction: A previous version of this article identified the price of Tastes of Mexico as $10. It is actual $135. The Gauntlet apologizes to its readers for this error.

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