Victory for pride and heritage

Exploring Cinco de Mayo at our school

Many holidays come and go with their seasons. However, there are some that are not related to any season, but an ongoing concept. The holiday Cinco de Mayo is surrounded by the concept of pride, heritage and victory.

The history of Cinco de Mayo does not involve Mexican independence as some people believe. Part of Cinco de Mayo is to commemorate the act of freedom and democracy during the first couple of years of the Civil War . The other part is to celebrate both Mexican heritage and pride, and the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

The idea of Cinco de Mayo not representing Mexican independence is somewhat mind bending. On the contrary, the overall celebration is uplifting and inspirational. Spanish teacher Matt Tuxhorn always sees Cinco de Mayo as not just a holiday, but as a way of establishing one’s self in America.

“When we started allowing Mexicans come to America, they wanted to somehow keep their culture alive,” Tuxhorn said. “While establishing the Mexican culture in America, it started to introduce the holiday of Cinco de Mayo. From there it spread to places like Texas, California, and other places near the border that still celebrate the traditional Cinco de Mayo today. In my class, we are first going to explore the history and talk about the events leading up to Cinco de Mayo. Then we will have a celebration where we focus on the other traditions of Mexico.”

Even though Cinco de Mayo is based on Mexican culture and events, people are still confused on where it is widely celebrated. Spanish teacher Alyssa Luna says its a common mistake and is not the only Mexican based holiday we celebrate in Indiana.

“People always gets confused on where exactly Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated,” Luna said. “The United States, mostly the southern parts, are the main places where Cinco de Mayo is highly recognized. As well as Cinco de Mayo, we celebrate another Mexican holiday in Indiana called El Dia Del Niño, also known as Day of the kids. I also believe that in celebration of El Dia Del Niño, kids get in free at the Children’s Museum.”

Spanish teacher Oriana Aravena-Labra celebrates Cinco de Mayo in her classroom with traditional food and events. At the same time, two of her students will be celebrating the holiday throughout the day. One of her students, sophomore Walter Salgado, celebrates it more traditionally and more locally.

“Some of the things my family does is make traditional Mexican food,” Salgado said. “Later in the evening, we get dressed up in uniforms to honor Mexican heritage and go to local parties happening around my neighborhood.”

The second student, sophomore Ianacio Zaragoza, finds that a big party sums up Cinco de Mayo.

“At my house, we have a big party celebrating Cinco de Mayo,” Zaragoza said. “Everybody dresses up like people from Mexico. We also have different Mexican food as well as celebrating the Gaueval.”

With all this celebrating going on, this day receives high praises from those who both do and do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Sophomore Carmen Herrera says that Cinco de Mayo is a great time to get together with family and honor this exceptional day.

“We get together celebrate with traditional food and music,” Herrera said. “ As a family, we share past memories with one another. Overall, it’s a cool day. Even people from America take importance to this holiday and those who are not familiar with it, still appreciate it.”

Whether you are Mexican, Irish, African, or any other heritage, Cinco de Mayo is not only a day to celebrate Mexican heritage, but to celebrate the idea of heritage over all. With this day, people can recollect on the past, and strive for ideas for the future. With everyone celebrating this holiday in some way, Cinco de Mayo has grown to mean more than just a day, but part of our everyday life styles.

Events for Cinco de Mayo in Indiana: