The real tradition of Cinco De Mayo

Sticking around for more than 150 years, people still seem to confuse history behind the holiday of Cinco de Mayo.

In fact, the date May 5, 1862 is not Mexico’s Independence Day. Even though the calendar date May 5 is an important day in history and means more than just guacamole and alcohol, people who celebrate, celebrate because of the soldiers who fought against a powerful French army. These soldiers had no training, poor equipment and still managed to win.

“The defeat was entirely unexpected,” Sara Hernandez, a freshman who majors in history, said. “A lot of people don’t know anything about Cinco de Mayo. People just celebrate to celebrate; and those are the ones who confuse the meaning of the holiday.”

According to Christopher Minster, a Ph.D literature professor and writer for About.com, Cinco de Mayo is not a big deal in Mexico. The country celebrates their Independence Day on Sept. 16, which, according to Minster, is more celebrated and important than Cinco de Mayo.

“Cinco de Mayo celebrations are very important for Mexicans living outside of Mexico, particularly the United States,” Minster stated in his article “Seven Facts About Cinco de Mayo.”

“I’m a 100% Mexican, and I don’t know much about the holiday,” Juan Arriaga, a senior majoring in Physical Education, said.

Arriaga clarifies that his grandparents, who live in Mexico, only celebrate their country’s Independence Day. It’s only him and his friends that celebrate Cinco de Mayo, saying that the “holiday” is just hype and a misunderstanding of Mexico’s Indepe dence Day.

“I celebrate Cinco de Mayo because other people do. Other people think it’s such a big deal, and I just go along with it for the good food and drinks.”

Sure the holiday gives people an excuse to eat foods like tostadas and nachos or chug down drinks like tequila and jimador, but according to Hernandez, people are celebrating the Cinco de Mayo for the wrong reasons.

“Every chance I get I tell people that Cinco de Mayo isn’t what they think it is. I like when my grandmother tells the story of the Battle of Puebla,” said Hernandez. “My younger brothers and cousins love it. Hopefully they’ll do the same as me and relay the message to others who misunderstand.”

Hernandez explains that her family celebrates with Mexican dishes like posole and picaditas. She described last Cinco de Mayo as “delicioso.”

“Of course my family follows the tradition of drinking tequila, and in my opinion they drink way too much. But hey, it is a celebration and everyone is entitled to celebrate in their own kind of way.”


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