Diversity Holidays and Celebrations In May (Week 3)

May 20, 2021

This month this column is highlighting diversity holidays and celebrations in May. This week, we continue with honoring Cinco de Mayo as it is important that we honor different cultures. Honoring Cinco de Mayo is not only meaningful for our readers who are of Mexican ancestry, but it provides opportunities for our readers to develop a deeper and richer understanding of the reason for the celebration. In continuation, this week, let’s look at how Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico and in the United States. This week’s article will conclude with why Cinco de Mayo is often confused with Mexico’s Independence Day.

How is Cinco de Mayo celebrated?

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely victory occurred, while other parts of the country also take part in the celebration. Traditions for celebrating Cinco de Mayo include military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events. For many Mexicans, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks and stores remain open.

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo, is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican American populations.

Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, in part because they identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla. Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. (1)

Cinco de Mayo is often confused with Mexican Independence Day Mexican Independence Day celebrates the country’s fight for independence from Spain. Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated on September 16 by Mexicans and people of Mexican ancestry around the world. Mexico’s War for Independence from Spain lasted for more than 11 years, but September 16, 1810, when the fight commenced with a historic battle cry, is universally regarded as the nation’s Independence Day. Festivities commemorating Mexico’s Independence Day take place in major Mexican cities as well as around the world. (2)


1 Cinco de Mayo, at: www.History.com.

2 The Oprah Magazine, How Mexican Independence Day is Celebrated Around the World, July 21, 2020, Grant Rindner.

Next Week: Conclusion

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