Cinco De Mayo Is Here!

Ashley Rodriguez, Staff Writer

With all sorts of activities kicking off the start of a new month, Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner. This year Cinco de Mayo, a day of Mexican pride and heritage, lands on a Friday.

While making your way through the halls of Falls Church High school, you are bound to see the striking differences of your peers every which way you turn. Without doubt, FCHS sets itself apart from other schools because of its immensely diverse student body. Immigrants, some of which are Mexican or of Mexican descent, make up a large portion of our school’s total population. To this day, Mexicans are the largest immigrant group residing within the United States.

So what exactly is Cinco de Mayo? Despite the common belief that Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s independence from Spain, countless people don’t know the real story behind the bicultural celebration. Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory against France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The Battle of Puebla is of great importance because not only was Mexico’s victory at the battle unlikely, but it also helped Mexicans put up a united front. At the time, the French Army was considered to be the strongest in the world and it had been undefeated for decades. Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza were able to prevent Napoleon III from carrying out his plan of installing a monarchy in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo represents the Mexican struggle against imperialism and the fact that Mexicans stood their ground against foreign intervention.

In my family, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by hosting a party with all of our close relatives and friends. Similar to many other celebrations that take place in the United States, we have a feast of traditional Mexican dishes including enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, and tacos. Back in Mexico, my family members don’t carry out as grand of a celebration as those who live in the town of Puebla do. In Puebla, Cinco de Mayo calls for huge parades featuring a reenactment of Mexico’s victory over France. Venders are also stationed on the streets selling food, patriotic clothing, and dazzling accessories. Cinco de Mayo has let rise to some very notable traditions. Here in the United States, people take it upon themselves to participate in all sorts of festivities, ranging from corn-hole tournaments to chili pepper eating contests. Mariachi bands and traditional Mexican dancing are often associated with the holiday. Today Cinco de Mayo is celebrated nationwide which speaks volumes to the Mexican spirit that lives on.