Diversity Holidays and Celebrations In May (Week 2)

May 13, 2021

In 2001, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) adopted the Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity and in December 2002, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialog and Development. The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to advance the goals of UNESCO to protect and promote the diversity of the cultural expressions. Highlighting diversity in holidays, religious celebrations, etc., offers the opportunity to educate the public about diversity in cultures.

Also, highlighting different cultures helps to learn about other cultures. This is what is referred to as cultural intelligence. We are traveling and working out of the country and our college-aged children are sharing college campuses with persons from all over the world. Even our young children are finding themselves interacting with others of different cultures in the classroom and we work with a diverse group of people. Thus, these are valid reasons for us to develop cultural awareness and appreciation. This month this column will begin celebrating diversity by bringing awareness to the celebration of Cinco de Mayo, celebrated May 5th every year.

History of Cinco de Mayo

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, in Spanish Cinco de Mayo means “Fifth of May” and is also called Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, a holiday celebrated in parts of Mexico and the United States in honor of a military victory in 1862 over the French forces of Napoleon III. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated May 5, 2021.

When in 1861 Mexico declared a temporary moratorium on the repayment of foreign debts, English, Spanish, and French troops invaded the country. By April 1862, the English and Spanish had withdrawn, but the French, with the support of wealthy landowners, remained in an attempt to establish a monarchy under Maximilian of Austria and to curb U.S. power in North America.

On May 5, 1862 a Mestizo and Zapotec force under the command of General Zaragoza defeated the French troops at the Battle of Puebla, southeast of Mexico City, and about 1,000 French troops were killed. Even though the fighting continued and the French were not driven out for another five years, the victory at Puebla became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination.

The city was later renamed Puebla de Zaragoza, the site of a museum devoted to the battle, and the battlefield itself is maintained as a park.

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica at: https://www.britannica. com/topic/Cinco-de-Mayo.

Next Week: Continuation

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