Many Grand County Mexicans don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo
May 6, 2008
A few Grand County restaurants serving authentic Mexican cuisine had little fanfare for the Cinco de Mayo holiday Monday.
Most likely because Cinco de Mayo is not really a holiday celebrated in all of Mexico.
Contrary to popular beliefs, Cinco de Mayo does not commemorate Mexico’s day of independence, which is actually Sept. 16. The nation gained its independence in 1810.
Maria Acevedo, owner of La Guarecita, said Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated in her home state of Michoacan, Mexico.
“In Mexico, people do not celebrate this day,” she said with translation assistance from son Gabriel. “Here in the United States, people celebrate this day because it is used as propaganda, or is commercialized, especially by beer companies. It’s not as big as the 16th of September, which is the real independence day of Mexico.”
Cinco de Mayo or “Batalla de Puebla” celebrates the significant victory against French forces in the city of Puebla on May 5, 1862, in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48.
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“Although Mexican citizens feel very proud of the meaning of Cinco de Mayo, it is not a national holiday in Mexico, but is an official holiday in the state of Puebla, where the battle took place,” said Glyn Sheppard of the Kremmling Library.
The U.S. “celebration” is largely a result of promotions by spirits and beer companies, bars and restaurants since the 1980s.
According to a University of California educational link (clnet.ucla.edu/cinco.html), in 1862 on the fifth of May, the French army began its advance. Under General Ignacio Zaragoza, 5,000 ill-equipped Mestizo and Zapotec Indians defeated the French army.
In the United States, the “Batalla de Puebla” came to be known as simply “5 de Mayo.”
Sheppard says the holiday has been taken off the library’s docket of Hispanic patron outreach because of its reputation of being a more American holiday.
Sheppard is hoping to have an event with food and music combining the Mexican September holidays Dia de los Ninos Heros (Boy Heros or Heroic Cadets”) Sept. 13th, Grito de Dolares (Shout of Dolares) Sept. 15, and Dia de la Independencia (Mexican Independence Day) Sept. 16.
“I’m looking for volunteers in the Grand County Community that could help me with this. The initial day I’ve selected is Sept.15th, a Saturday, from 10 to 2,” she said.
” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.