By Luis Marquez
Have you ever asked yourself why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo? A majority of the people would answer, “Oh, it is Mexico’s Independence Day,” but that is incorrect.
A lot of people celebrate this supposed Mexican holiday but do not actually know the history behind it. Why is it important? How did it come about?
It is celebrated because on May 5th, 1862 the people of Puebla, around 4,500 troops, defeated the heavily equipped army of France, around 8,000 troops. This was a defeat that could not be done by many during that time, especially the with the lack of weapons in Mexico.
It is kind of funny that we celebrate this holiday here in the United States when Mexico does not even consider it a national holiday.
This holiday is celebrated in certain regions of Mexico, such as Puebla and Veracruz. Most Mexicans do not celebrate the holiday at all.
It reminds me of another holiday that we celebrate in March.
I asked my parents the other day why we don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and they said to me “Well, to tell you the truth, mijo, we’re not from Puebla so it doesn’t really matter to us. To us and a lot of other people it’s just another day of work.”
These are people from Mexico, and are very proud to say that they are Mexican, and this holiday that is supposed to convey Mexican pride is not celebrated by them. Isn’t that just a tiny bit weird?
I love that schools celebrate Cinco de Mayo, especially elementary schools, because they have great celebrations, dances and they dress up. It is also great for the kids to learn something about their culture.
That is the only exception though, everyone else just takes advantage of the situation to have their own fun and make it acceptable.
People use the “holiday” as an excuse to go out and have a grand old time. It’s fine to go out and have fun, but you don’t have to do it in the name of Cinco de Mayo.
Just go have fun without the holiday, let it be a regular outing with friends, and don’t put a name on it.
Cinco de Mayo should be used educationally. It can be used sort of as a metaphor, in which a little state in Mexico persevered and defeated the might of France, like David and Goliath.