I’m really excited about sharing Cinco de Mayo with all of you. It’s a lovely socio-cultural phenomenon which we want to cover in depth. It’s the perfect example of a Tradition bringing together two countries and cultures into one single celebration. The apparent cultural and race differences simply dissolve.
As you can see, this fact makes Cinco de Mayo a very important and valuable #TraditionsOfTheWorld; not only for the American and Mexican cultures but for the rest of the world.
Cinco de Mayo has a meaningful history. It originally commemorates the “Batalla de Puebla” (Puebla battle) in Mexico. This was the first time that the Mexican army could defeat better prepared foreign soldiers, in this case; the powerful French army.
This battle took place in the current city of Puebla de Zaragoza on May 5, 1862.
Puebla is a state of Mexico, its capital is named Puebla de Zaragoza, after Ignacio de Zaragoza, the general leading the Mexican army.
Puebla de Zaragoza is currently an important industrial city quite close to Mexico City.
The first curious fact about Cinco de Mayo is that it is not an official holiday in Mexico. It’s a local holiday only celebrated in Puebla. However…
Cinco de Mayo is a Popular Latino Holiday in the United States
Cinco de Mayo has acquired a different significance in the United States, from its original historical meaning in Mexico.
To Americans, Cinco de Mayo is also observed as the “Day of the Latin Pride” (Día del Orgullo Latino).
Many cities in the United States celebrate Cinco de Mayo with parades and festivals. Consulate members, immigrant population, and people from other countries gather to celebrate; they also learn about the fascinating and rich Mexican history and culture.
Cinco the Mayo is the time of the year when people from all over the world living in the United States may enjoy the Mexican food, drink margaritas, straight tequila, and mezcal; they can also dance with the Mariachi and experience this culture’s richness.
Differently from other local Mexican holidays where each region would bring their particular traditions. Cinco de Mayo in the United
This happens because Mexicans in the United States are from different areas of the country; so the traditions merge.
One of the most representative festivities takes place at the Placita Olvera in Los Angeles, California. In this same city, the Union of Poblanos Abroad organizes the Cinco de Mayo festival with several civic and cultural events.
Friday, May 3, 2013, Dr. David Hayes Bautista, professor at UCLA, was recognized at the Placita Olvera for the publication of his book ‘Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition’ and for his research work on the historical context of Cinco de Mayo.
According to Dr. Hayes, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration first created by Latinos in California, in the mid-nineteenth century. It’s meaning has evolved over time from a nostalgic date in 1930 to an expression of patriotism in the 1940s, and then set the tone for the birth of “Chicano” power in the 1960s.
All Over the United States
As you can see, Cinco de Mayo holds the richness of both countries. And let me tell you it’s not only celebrated in California.
In New York, the Cinco de Mayo Parade is held in Central Park, where in addition to the parade of typical regional costumes, the city holds a fundraiser to support upper-level Mexican students.
There is a competition to choose “Miss Cinco de Mayo” before the parade. And let me tell you that this American tradition of the beauty contest, has permeated to other local Mexican celebrations.
Other cities like Chicago, Phoenix and Washington, and many more also celebrate Cinco de Mayo as a symbol of unity and identity of the Mexican-American communities.
The fact that Mexico and the United States shared parallel struggles with the French intervention, and slavery respectively, have created a bond where both countries defend democratic and anti-racism ideals. This mantra permeates to become the reason why even non-Mexican/American people also like to celebrate this day in the United States.
During the 1860s, in the middle of the American Civil War, Mexicans living in more than one hundred Californian localities created gatherings that celebrated Cinco de Mayo. They intended to support Mexican and the American anti-slave forces, as well.
From 1863 to 2019
Let’s see Cinco de Mayo’s timeline.
According to papers published by the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, and other media about Cinco de Mayo in the United States:
- Celebrations started in 1863. Mexican Gold Miners in Columbia were so overjoyed at the news that they spontaneously fired rifle shots and fireworks, sang patriotic songs and made impromptu speeches.
- A quote from the 2007 newsroom: “the holiday, which has been celebrated in California continuously since 1863, is virtually ignored in Mexico.”
- TIME Magazine: “Cinco de Mayo started to come into vogue in 1940s America during the rise of the Chicano Movement.
- In a 1998 study in the “Journal of American Culture,“ it was reported that there were more than 120 official US celebrations of Cinco de Mayo in 21 different states.
- An update in 2006 found that the number of official Cinco de Mayo events was 150 or more, according to José Alamillo, a professor of ethnic studies at Washington State University.
Other Facts About Cinco de Mayo
Los Angeles’ Fiesta Broadway has been the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world in the 1990s. This Fiesta gathered crowds of 500,000 or more.
The holiday crossed from California into the rest of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s but did not gain popularity until the 1980s when marketers, especially beer companies looking to capitalize the celebration decided to promote it.
On June 7, 2005, the United States Congress issued a resolution calling on the President of the United States to proclaim Cinco de Mayo as a day of civic observance. Ever since there are displays promoting Cinco de Mayo banners while schools hold special events to educate students about its historical significance.
Cinco de Mayo has grown in popularity and evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.
Since 1963, Mexicans living in more than a hundred American localities have celebrated Cinco de Mayo to remember the Mexican and the American anti-slave forces.
After all these conflicts, the veterans from both wars held civic celebrations on May 5th to remember the reason for their struggles.
With time, Cinco de Mayo became a day of Ethnic Pride.
Stay tuned because our next posts will tell you more about Cinco de Mayo. This is only the beginning.
Smithsonian Magazine: www.smithsonianmag.com
Traditions Host and Magic ARTificial INteligence
I am Martin, I am
In the meanwhile, I am here to get you some fun things to do.