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Saturday, Sep 22
All Day Pacific Islander Festival
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
9:00 AM Sports: Free Aikido Workshop
10:00 AM Vista Viking Festival
10:00 AM Community Building: YMCA Welcoming week
10:00 AM Lao Boat Racing Festival
12:30 PM International Harvest Dance Festival
5:30 PM Harvest Masquerade Regency Ball
6:00 PM House of China Moon Festival
6:00 PM Art: Salvador Dali Exhibit
6:00 PM Art Night Women in Central Asia
6:00 PM Stage: Death by Dessert
7:00 PM Film and Dinner: Wajib
7:00 PM Music: Tasnifkhani with Kourosh Taghavi
8:00 PM Stage: Blithe Spirit
9:30 PM Comedy: Ronny Chieng
Sunday, Sep 23
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
All Day Pacific Islander Festival
10:00 AM Vista Viking Festival
12:30 PM International Harvest Dance Festival
1:00 PM Art: Salvador Dali Exhibit
1:00 PM Stage: Death by Dessert
2:00 PM Family Moon Festival
2:00 PM Stage: Blithe Spirit
3:00 PM Music: Night of Parisian Music
3:00 PM Stage: The Trial of Richard III
4:00 PM Sing-a-Long with the Mikado
7:00 PM Stage: Blithe Spirit
Monday, Sep 24
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
Tuesday, Sep 25
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
6:30 PM Film: Black Panther
7:00 PM Film: The Registry
Wednesday, Sep 26
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
5:00 PM Film: Out of Africa
6:00 PM Film: Coco
6:00 PM Discussion: What Diplomats Do and Why it (Still) Matters
6:00 PM Film: Notorius
6:15 PM Music: Fred Benedetti
7:00 PM Art: Parsha Poster
7:00 PM Stage: Blithe Spirit
7:30 PM Book Signing: Crazy Rich Asians
Thursday, Sep 27
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
11:45 AM Booked for Lunch: Kevin Kwan
6:00 PM Cooking Workshop: Donburi Bowls
6:30 PM Art: Torero! Artivista! Viva La Revolucion
8:00 PM Stage: Blithe Spirit
Friday, Sep 28
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
3:30 PM Cabrillo Festival
4:00 PM La Mesa Oktoberfest
4:00 PM Oktoberfest in El Cajon
6:30 PM Italian Film Festival Launch Party
7:30 PM Music: An Evening of Hindustani Classical Music
8:00 PM Dance: Mystic India
8:00 PM Stage: Blithe Spirit
Saturday, Sep 29
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
9:00 AM Youth Festival of Indian Music & Dance
10:00 AM Art: Bonsai Show
10:00 AM La Mesa Oktoberfest
11:00 AM Carbillo Festival
12:00 PM Oktoberfest in El Cajon
2:00 PM Sake Festival
2:00 PM Sake Festival
3:30 PM Music/Dance: Capoeira Batizado
7:00 PM Dromia: Balkan Music and Dance
8:00 PM Stage: Blithe Spirit
Sunday, Sep 30
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:00 AM Encinitas Oktoberfest
10:00 AM Art: Bonsai Show
10:00 AM La Mesa Oktoberfest
11:00 AM Sukkort Harvest Festival
11:00 AM House of Scotland Lawn Program
12:00 PM Oktoberfest in El Cajon
2:00 PM Stage: Blithe Spirit
6:00 PM Discussion: Fighting for Cyber Supremacy in an Age of Extremism
6:30 PM Film: King Lear
7:00 PM Stage: Blithe Spirit
Monday, Oct 1
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
Tuesday, Oct 2
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
Wednesday, Oct 3
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
7:30 PM 12th Annual San Diego Italian Film Festival
Thursday, Oct 4
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
7:30 PM 12th Annual San Diego Italian Film Festival
Friday, Oct 5
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
2:00 PM Film: Selma
4:00 PM Oktoberfest in El Cajon
7:30 PM 12th Annual San Diego Italian Film Festival
Cultural Lens: Laamb, Senegalese Wrestling

There is nothing more Senegalese than sport, and it is not uncommon to see people of all ages working out on the boardwalk in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. What is so unique about this boardwalk is the fact that many outdoor gyms have been constructed along its edge. Cars pass by on the highway, and there are spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, lively conversations, and lots of stands selling coconut juice.

Aside from regularly exercising, Senegalese people are passionate about watching soccer and basketball. But while the national team's performance during the 2002 FIFA World Cup is a cherished memory, the most popular sport in the country is definitely Senegalese wrestling.

Senegalese wrestling or Laamb in Wolof, the national language of Senegal, is an indigenous sport played on sand that has existed for centuries. Laamb competitions are won when a wrestler lifts their opponent and throws them to the ground outside the ring. Although physical strength is important, competitors believe that luck also plays a vital role in winning.

Many Senegalese people believe in supernatural powers and that bad luck befalls those who do not seek protection against it. As a result, competitors usually perform rituals before their matches, not only to increase their luck, but also to protect against the spells their opponents cast against them. Competitors often wear Gris-Gris, or spiritual protections, around their waists, arms, and legs, and rub themselves with magic lotions prepared by spiritual leaders known as Marabouts.

This sport was traditionally performed by Serer tribe warriors as military training, but it was also considered a rite of passage for young Serer men and a way to acquire Jom, or honor — an important value in the Serer community. Laamb then traveled across the country, and competitors from different ethnic groups would wrestle before the local kings.

Senegalese Drum
Photo by: Radia Mbengue


Laamb became a significant part of the Senegalese music scene during the pre-colonial era. Matches were accompanied by women's chants, poetry recitals, traditional dances, such as the Mbalax, and the sound of the Tam Tam, a kind of drum and a very popular instrument in Senegal.

What has changed over time? While Laamb was historically used by young men to prove their masculinity, find a wife, and bring honor to their villages, today it is largely a display of athletic skill. Laamb also helps young men wrestle their way out of poverty. The more successful and popular the wrestler is, the more money they can earn — much like in American wrestling. Young people head to the beaches at twilight to practice in the hopes of one day becoming the next champion.

Like many sports, fans identify with the players and are proud of the competitors from their own neighborhoods. Laamb has become a national sport played in stadiums and shown on TV, and star wrestlers are the heroes of entire districts; you can see them on posters on every wall and vehicle throughout Senegal.

Even though the practice has become highly commercialized, it remains fundamentally cultural and traditional in nature. Matches take place at cultural celebrations, with singers, dancers, and Griots (traditional storytellers) celebrating the victors.

If you want to learn more about this culture-infused sport, check out the 2005 Senegalese movie "L'appel des arčnes" (Wrestling Grounds).
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