Every year in America on the fifth of May, people prepare for parties and gather with friends in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. But, while many Americans love an excuse to party, do those celebrators really know what they are celebrating?
The Cinco de Mayo holiday is meant to recognize the 1862 Battle of Puebla of the Franco-Mexican war. The French, eager to gain territory in Mexico, lead an attack on Veracruz in 1861 initiating the war. A year later was the attack on Puebla, and while the Mexican forces were largely outnumbered the battle ended in a Mexican victory. This battle was a small battle in the Franco-Mexican war, which continued for five more years after the Battle of Puebla (history.com).
For Mexicans, this is a minor holiday; it is not recognized on the federal level and is mostly celebrated exclusively by the citizens of Puebla, Mexico. For the rest of Mexico the fifth of May is just another day of another month, and things go relatively uninterrupted. That’s not the case for Americans. May fifth is marked by heavy drinking, parties, fake sombreros and other perceived cultural representations. American citizens classify their actions as a celebration of Mexican culture when really, most of them are not exactly sure what they’re celebrating.
San Marcos senior Andrew Rodriguez says, “Cinco de Mayo is a holiday made by big corporations so that they can make more money and gentrify the Mexican culture.” Although “celebrating” can be enjoyable, it’s important to remember that your fun should not come at the expense of another culture, so next time you prepare to celebrate a foreign holiday like Chinese New Year or Cinco de Mayo be sure to observe the traditions respectfully.