Cinco de Mayo

When most Americans think of Cinco de Mayo, the majority envision plastic-beaded jewelry, scantily-clad women, and an extreme excess of alcohol. Music, laughing, and talking fill the air and the scene is set in chaotic and colorful disarray. But this image, while vibrant and full of life, is not how Cinco de Mayo is supposed to be celebrated.

For those who aren’t already aware, Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day (which is Sept. 16). Cinco day Mayo is the day Mexican people remember when General Ignacio Zaragoza led the Mexican Army into a victory against the French armies in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated. All children have the day off of school, but the day is only an official holiday in the state of Puebla, where the battle was won. The festivities are most prevalent and widespread in Puebla. The neighboring state of Veracruz also has a full holiday on May 5, and there are various military-themed parades across Mexico, but the festivities are nowhere near as ostentatious, raucous, and flamboyant as those in most of the United States.

Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated in the United States for many years (particularly in the Southwestern United States and by Mexican-American activists), the Americanized celebrations of Cinco de Mayo have largely been used as a marketing opportunity for American beer companies. In Mexico, most businesses and offices are still open, and business continues as usual.

If you would like to celebrate in a way that is culturally accurate or learn more, visit LBCC’s Diversity Day on Wednesday, May 9, which will be in the courtyard from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature performers, music, food, club and community tables, and more.

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