Celebrating Cinco De Mayo


Photo from Canva by Niomi Nunez 

Many people that celebrate Cino de Mayo in the US don’t even know what the Mexican holiday commemorates.  

Katherine Daly, Staff Writer

Every May 5 is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that is always fun and exciting. There are endless ways to get involved, but you should probably learn about the history of the event first. Despite what everybody thinks, May 5 is not Mexico’s Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo instead commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over Napoleon III’s French forces. Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday in Mexico but has evolved into a much larger celebration here in the United States. This is not surprising, considering Americans’ fondness for claiming other countries’ holidays as a reason to drink and party. However, in the 1960s, the holiday was adopted by a large Mexican American population to commemorate their culture, heritage and traditions. This transformed the holiday into something new and explosive for others. 

Traditionally, it’s now a day for Mexican Americans to celebrate their heritage, and people of all ethnicities join the fun. Some of the most popular ways are parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and having traditional foods such as Mole Poblano and Verde Tamales. The prevalence of Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. just goes to show how much of an influence Mexican culture has on this country. If you’re observing the holiday, here are three activities to honor Cinco de Mayo traditions.  

First, try to prepare some traditional food. The conflict that took place on Cinco de Mayo in 1862 is also known as the Battle of Puebla. Most celebrations of Mexico’s victory include dishes native to the area, such as Mole Poblano. Mole Poblano can be prepared in a nearly infinite number of ways.  So many different ingredients are found in the dish, but the main ones are chili peppers, chocolate, plantains, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Creating this traditional cuisine is both a tasty and unique way to enjoy the day. 

Next, make it a day full of fun. Of course, you cannot miss out on the parades or parties on Cinco de Mayo. There are just so many to choose from. Salsa dancing is quite popular in Mexico and is a great way to celebrate this tradition. Although a lot of salsa dancing comes from Puerto Rico, it still has its roots in Mexican history. The environment and atmosphere at these places are unreal and are open to everyone. So, gather your friends, head out and learn dances such as the bachata and merengue. 

Lastly, you could always decorate the dorms with traditional decorations. Papal Picado is a traditional Mexican art form used in almost all Mexican celebrations. It is a beautiful decoration that is similar to snowflake cutouts. You need white construction paper, scissors, tissue paper and string for hanging. All you have to do is fold the tissue paper and cut out shapes. When done, open up the paper and you should have patterns of symmetrical shapes. Use some string to hang up your work and add some flair to the holiday.  

The meaning of Cinco de Mayo has truly evolved over time. It started as a battle in Puebla and later became a holiday about Mexican culture.  No matter where you live, Cinco de Mayo stands as an important day for Mexican people to celebrate their heritage.