Mexican Holiday Comes North
By Martin Munoz / May - June, 2011

In the melting pot we call the United States of America, with an increasingly large Hispanic population, it's no wonder that a holiday such as Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated. It originates in Mexico and is commonly associated with the country's traditional food and clothing.

What exactly does the iconic holiday, celebrated on the fifth of May, signify? Misconceptions and misinformation surround the holiday, honored locally at Mexican restaurants among legions of fans. An acquaintance once incorrectly asserted that it was Mexico's Fourth of July, a popular notion. Cinco de Mayo has also been called a marketing ploy to sell liquor and Taco Bell, though that is far from the truth.

Misconceptions and misinformation surround the holiday, mainly celebrated in the Mexican state of Puebla and in the U.S. In fact, it's largely ignored elsewhere south of the border.

To the majority of Mexican-Americans, Cinco de Mayo has a diverse range of meanings. Alexandra Nava of Coral Springs notes that "it's a moment to celebrate the people's rich heritage and culture... it's a festivity that reminds us [Mexican-Americans] of the battle that we had as a nation against the French in the town of Puebla."

Nava adds that Cinco de Mayo is special because of the "Mexican dishes, togetherness as a family and the celebration of our Mexican roots."

With the tension at the U.S.-Mexico border heating up, it may not be widely remembered that a large portion of the American Southwest was once part of its adjacent neighbor. To this day, that connection lives on through celebrations such as Cinco de Mayo.

Although the holiday uniquely evolved in the 20th century, its roots are well-documented. As the 1850s came to a close, it seemed as though Mexico might collapse under France's military, led by the infamous Napoleon III. But on May 5, 1862, Mexico defeated the French in the town of Puebla, an unprecedented outcome that was met with much jubilation.

News of the victory reached relatives in the recently incorporated state of California and it is said that a celebration broke out across the region.

For many, Cinco de Mayo is a day to dress up in traditional Mexican attire, listen to mariachi music, and relish in the country's history. While this may be the more accurate way to celebrate, others take it as a day to drink heavily and partake in stereotypical Mexican customs. On the fifth of May, if you find yourself lounging, wearing a sombrero, and holding a tequila, remember that Cinco de Mayo means so much more. Cultural events are happening around the country. It's the perfect opportunity to learn more about our neighbor to the south.

9381 West Sample Road , Suite 203
Coral Springs, FL 33065
Phone: 954-755-9800
Fax: 954-755-2082

© Copyright theParklander, All Rights Reserved.