¿Qué es Cinco de Mayo?

Folklorico+Dance%2C+a+Mexican+traditional+dance.

Martin Vorel

Folklorico Dance, a Mexican traditional dance.

Introduction 

Cinco de Mayo or also known as the fifth of May is a celebration of Mexican heritage, typically celebrated in Mexico. Even though it’s not celebrated as much today, it’s still an important day. This day is full of dancing, cultural appreciation, celebrating, and being surrounded by joy. Unfortunately, there is still controversy surrounding this holiday. Let’s learn more about this event! 

What’s the meaning of celebrating?

Cinco de Mayo is a very special day for Mexico, especially Puebla. It’s a significant day for Puebla, since this is where the “Battle of Puebla” took place. In the mid-20th-century this became a day to recognize the pride in Mexican heritage.  Mexicans celebrate to honor their victory over the French Forces. This day is an anniversary for the battle that took place in the town. 

What is the Battle of Puebla?

The Battle of Puebla was a battle between France and Mexico; it was fought in 1862. Puebla is a small town located in Mexico. This battle started due to the French wanting to establish a French satellite in Mexico. This battle ended with French troops retreating and the country was left with a victory. More than 1,000 French troops were killed while in battle. This day was a big accomplishment for Puebla, because it symbolized the country’s ability to defend its sovereignty against a powerful foreign nation. 

Traditions of Cinco de Mayo

In Mexico, occasionally on this day people dress up as Mexican and French soldiers in large parades to recreate the Battle of Puebla to show why this holiday is even celebrated, a reminder to why this day is now important. They usually dress up in the colors of red, white, and green. These are the colors of Cinco de Mayo. These three colors signify the Mexican flag. Each of the colors have a special meaning behind them. Red meaning religion and the blood of the national heroes. Green signifying resenting hope and perseverance. Lastly, white represents unity and purity. 

Dancing is a big element in celebrating this holiday. People dancing everywhere and traditional music echoing through their ears, it’s truly an exhilaration to people. Music like mariachi, Mexican Cumbia, and ranchera is all traditional Hispanic music. There’s even a traditional Mexican folk dance called Folklorico. This dance represents “the dance of the people.” It’s really special for people since it allows them to express themselves through the flow of the music and dancing. It’s a way to have fun being in flowy dresses and dancing around with it as if there’s no one else in the world, just you. 

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in various places around the world. Mainly It’s celebrated in multiple parts of Mexico, the United States, and even some parts of Canada. In both Canada and the United States, parties with friends and family usually occur. In Canada, things such as skydiving events and competitions happen on this day. 

Controversy        

Now Cinco de Mayo isn’t all joy and dancing. Cinco de Mayo is surrounded by controversy. Should it even be a holiday? Why are the stereotypes given to Mexicans for celebrating this? People in the United States usually think it is Mexico’s Independence day. People tend to forget the actual reasoning behind why this day is even celebrated. Others use it as an excuse to party and mock Mexican’s culture by wearing traditional Mexican clothes such as mustaches, hats, etc.

Orange County resident Eliazar Posada stated “It’s not rare to see folks walking around with ‘traditional’ Mexican things like maracas, sombreros or serapes. That’s really not what the day is about. It makes a mockery out of Mexican culture.”

The “stereotype” for Mexicans is seen as they’re using this day to promote excessive drinking of alcohol. Mexicans can’t seem to understand how it is that the United States celebrates Cinco de Mayo more than Mexico does. Cinco Mayo is often used for advertising things that don’t have to do with the holiday. The controversy of this topic is that people celebrate this day without knowing the meaning. This can become extremely degrading on those who truly see it as a beautiful day to show pride for their heritage. 

Conclusion

Cinco de Mayo is more than what people see it as. The meaning behind Cinco de Mayo is profound; it has a great impact on the people of Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with great pride. This pride comes from the fact that this is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla which ended in a victory for Mexico. The traditions for celebrating this day have evolved and become a thing everyone can celebrate with the right intentions. Over the years this day has been ruined due to the controversy that comes with Cinco de Mayo. Although the day is full of misconceptions, it doesn’t ruin the joy that it brings to be able to celebrate with music, dancing, dresses, and traditional food.