Just who owns Cinco de Mayo?

Just who owns Cinco de Mayo?

LatinaLista -- Cinco de Mayo may be rooted in Mexican history -- it commemorates the 1862 underdog victory of the Mexican army's defeat of the well-armed French forces occupying the country -- but it's totally an American-made celebration.

3505069806_e28070d32f_m.jpgIn fact it's related to one of the United States most revered moments in history, the American Civil War. It is said that the celebration sprang up spontaneously among Mexicans and Latinos living in California who wanted to show support for the cause of defending freedom and democracy during the early stages of the Civil War.

(Photo: Flckr Commons: Bisayan Lady)

Long before social media and the term "viral" were terms accepted in Merriam-Webster, news of the Cinco de Mayo observance spread from California throughout the southwest where large communities of Mexicans had forged roots sparking celebrations wherever Mexican-Americans lived.

Over the years, the background of Cinco de Mayo has only been loosely known -- "It's from Mexico" -- and mostly wrong -- "It's Mexican Independence." (There is only one spot in Mexico that celebrates the observance. It's the state of Puebla, where the battle took place. The national holiday of independence is celebrated on Sept. 16 and everyone celebrates it.)

But the history of the observance has taken a backseat to the marketing efforts that pushed the celebration as a day, and night, of non-stop partying. In that regard, Cinco de Mayo has been embraced by all Americans to come out and enjoy traditional Mexican food and drink.

Yet, Cinco de Mayo really should be embraced by all Americans because while it might have its roots in a Mexican battle where a ragtag army of Mexican soldiers proved critics wrong in defeating an army twice its size, the observance itself symbolizes how ingenuity, perseverance and a strong belief in the ideals of freedom and self-rule are universal traits that every country can claim as its own -- and should celebrate with gusto!

Click to add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


More in Culture


Video: New documentary explores how epic film GIANT changed the lives of film’s Latinos

Latina ListaApril 15, 2015

Book Review: First-of-its-kind anthology delves into Latina spirituality

Latina ListaApril 14, 2015

Spain’s Prado Museum opens doors to blind visitors with special “touch” exhibit

Latina ListaApril 8, 2015
Octavio Solis #3

Q&A with Latino playwright Octavio Solis

Latina ListaMarch 16, 2015

Review: Author explains why Latinos missing out on citizenship empowerment

Latina ListaMarch 9, 2015

Looks like children’s book publishers need longer time-out to improve diversity in titles

Latina ListaFebruary 26, 2015

Viernes Video: Aspiring Colombian filmmaker mixes zombies and westerns to create an unique horror short

Latina ListaJanuary 30, 2015

Multicultural Children’s Book Day Spotlight: Meg Medina

Latina ListaJanuary 23, 2015

The Educational Revolution of Mexican American Studies in Arizona

Latina ListaJanuary 13, 2015