Thanksgiving With Full Global Vision Trimmings : Holiday: Author Victor Villasenor’s annual celebration goes beyond the tale of Pilgrims and Indians, offering an array of multicultural entertainment.
Thanksgiving is near, so the mind naturally turns to thoughts of Scottish bagpipes, Mexican ballet folklorico, Vedic offerings to Mother Nature, Irish pipes, Sanskrit chanting, Gypsy dancing, Native American dancing, Malaysian dancing and African American gospel music from the days of slavery.
At least it does if you’re award-winning author and indefatigable peace activist Victor Villasenor.
So on Sunday Villasenor played host to his annual “Snow Goose Global Thanksgiving for Worldwide Peace” at Rancho Villasenor, the hacienda-style home his family has owned on a hilltop here for generations.
The author of “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez,” “Macho!,” “Rain of Gold” (praised as a Mexican American “Roots” and soon to be a television movie) and an upcoming biographyof the slain singer Selena wants to broaden the cultural horizons of the traditional Thanksgiving beyond the grammar-school tale of Pilgrims and Indians.
His first festival was held in 1992 in Spain and included a ceremony forgiving Christopher Columbus for landing in the New World and changing the lives of its inhabitants beyond repair.
The next year the Snow Goose Global Thanksgiving moved to Plymouth Rock. This was the second year the free-admission festival has been at Rancho Villasenor, as several hundred people idled away a day watching multicultural entertainment in the soothing fall sunlight.
“This is about unity,” said Tanya Castaneda, a preschool teacher in Del Mar. “It’s nothing promotional for Victor’s books or anything like that. It’s just people being thankful for everything in their culture and in other people’s cultures too and mostly for the Earth.”
“We’ve been too separate for too long,” said Rosemary Cox, a hypnotherapist and singer from Carlsbad. “Days like this bring us together, make us appreciate everyone’s spirituality.”
The snow goose, to Villasenor, is a symbol of peacefulness, a migratory bird of great beauty that does no harm and respects no national boundaries. Villasenor said the idea for the annual party came from a vision he had in which a snow goose was guided by the spirit of Villasenor’s Indian grandmother.
“Mother Earth has been giving to us, her children, for eons of time,” Villasenor said. “And a mother who’s been honored with love by her children will smile upon us, even though we have been misbehaving for some time.”
Sunday began early with a ritual offering of food to Mother Earth and ended at sundown with the sinking of a ceremonial pole into a hole in the ground. Villasenor referred to the latter as “acupuncture to Mother Earth.”
Villasenor, 55, lets very little cultural grass grow beneath his feet. His goal is to hold similar pre-Thanksgiving festivals in upcoming years in Portland, San Francisco, Great Falls, Mont., Albuquerque and somewhere near the intersection of Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota. Lines drawn between those places and Oceanside create two overlapping triangles, a symbol of harmony.
“Mother Earth will smile and she will begin to forgive us for the abuse and [stuff] we have put her through,” he told the crowd after a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Villasenor put down some rules for the day: no book sales, no book signing, no autographs. He floated through the crowd at intervals, hugging men and women alike, and occasionally taking center stage to talk of Mother Earth and mankind’s mistreatment of her.
“We cannot solve the problems of the world politically, economically or socially,” Villasenor said. “But we can dissolve them.”
Not that Villasenor is permanently stuck in mellowness. Dreams often include anger and rage, he noted.
His father, who died six years ago at age 86, built the hacienda in anger against the actor Tom Mix, Villasenor said. His father had been mortified as a child in Arizona when he saw Tom Mix movies in which the cowboy star could vanquish multiple Mexicans with a single punch.
When the elder Villasenor decided to build a home, he made sure it was bigger than the actor’s home in Hollywood: “He said, ‘This is my revenge against Tom Mix.’ ”
Tales of revenge against Tom Mix aside, the fourth annual Snow Goose Global Thanksgiving was a day of good entertainment and fellowship, enforced by Villasenor who led the crowd in a mass hugging session.
“I was drawn to come here,” said Michelle Scheurell, an artist from San Diego. “Something came over me. I had to be here.”