You probably have a Mexican hat stuffed somewhere in a closet of regrets. There are still pictures tagged on Facebook of you wielding a haphazard fake mustache. You’re still not on speaking terms with tequila, but you’re willing to compromise. And compromise you will. The beginning of May means one thing for college students across America—the unforgiving Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo. Or as some mastermind cleverly dubbed it: “Cinco de Drinko.”
When it comes down to the holiday itself, however, few people actually know the true meaning behind the celebration (especially if you’re in college—it’s an excuse to party, who needs details?). I count myself among the guilty. This year, I decided to take a stand and cleanse myself of the ignorance by tapping into my resources. Who better to ask than a Mexican? My good friend Alejandra Cabrera (A&S ’14), born and raised in Miami, provided some clarification.
Apparently, there’s a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s Independence Day—but that is not the case.
“I never knew many details growing up, but I knew it was a huge victory we had with the French that nobody expected we would have,” she said. “It’s just a really big pride celebration in Mexico.”
Known as El Dia de La Batalla de Puebla (Day of the Battle of Puebla), Cinco de Mayo marks the victory of the Mexican army over the French on the title day in 1862.
As for the importance of the celebration, it’s “not really a big deal. It was one of the few days a year my mom would cook, so that was a big deal to us, but as far as celebrations and stuff, not for me.”
Similarly, it isn’t as huge a deal in Mexico as we American folks make it out to be. Celebration of the holiday is mostly limited to the state of Puebla, where the victorious battle occurred.
“Back home in Mexico, people do celebrate it—not the way they do here,” said Alejandra. “It’s a much more cultural celebration.”
It seems to be a trend for America though. “I just look at St. Patrick’s Day and I can’t feel that bad. I just see that people like excuses to party, and Cinco de Mayo is an excuse to party.”
With this bit of enlightenment, bring out the poncho and party on exactly as you would anyway. Orale.