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  • Katerine Chung Chen

Cinco de Drinkooo!

Cinco de Mayo, or in English, the fifth of May, is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). The Battle of Puebla took place near the city of Puebla during the French intervention in Mexico. The battle ended in a victory for the Mexican Army over the occupying French soldiers. Ever since then, every May 5th is considered a relatively minor holiday in Mexico. But in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.

Somehow in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is mistaken to be Mexico's Independence Day—the most important national holiday in Mexico. Well, let me tell you, the US is wrong, Mexico declared independence from Spain on September 16, 1821. It commemorates the Cry of Dolores that initiated the war of Mexican independence from Spain. Each year, more and more Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo alongside all the proud Mexicans and Latinos. This feast is mostly celebrated in East LA, Southern California where the largest population of Mexican-Americans reside. East Los Angeles became a Chicano community at the end of World War II. According to the US Census in 2015, 88% of Mexicans living in East L.A. are immigrants.


Americans often celebrated this day as "Cinco de Drinko" with tequila, sombreros, fake Mexican accents, and eventual public apologies after crossing the line between "celebrating Mexican culture" and offensive ethnic stereotypes. In Mexico, this commemoration of the battle is not considered a national holiday. However, all public schools are closed nationwide in Mexico on May 5. The day is an official holiday in the state of Puebla, where the Battle took place, and also a full holiday (no work) in the neighboring state of Veracruz. Puebla celebrates Cinco de Mayo by doing historical reenactments, parades, and meals take place to commemorate the battle.

NOTE: If you live by San Francisco and you would like to know more about Cinco de Mayo. There will be a festival this Saturday May 6th, 2017 held on Valencia Street between 21st and 24th street. This is a free family friendly event which includes food and lots of interaction with the Mexican culture. The festive, life enriching family event starts from 10:00 a.m. and continues until 6:00 p.m.

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