The Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo is a big festival of music, dancing, food, and fun. It is a celebration of the Battle of Pueblea, when the Mexican army unexpectedly ran the French out of the country. Cinco de Mayo in English means May 5, which is the day in 1862 that Mexico showed the world that they were strong and united.
Many states celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but Texas is one that celebrates throughout the state. Not every town does share in the festivities but one would not have to travel far to find one that does. The small town of Lake Dallas has it’s own Cinco de Mayo celebration for residents. They launch a parade every year, starting at the middle school, usually with a police car leading the way. The parade route usually goes up Hundley Drive to Shady Shores Road, then down Main Street. They have trucks and cars that the owners decorate themselves to look like floats. They march down the streets with music, throwing candy and beaded necklaces to the kids on the side watching.
San Antonio, Texas, is much bigger so they can afford a larger celebration for Cinco de Mayo. There was a festival this year at the Arneson River Walk Theater with music, dancing, and speakers. SA Met Ballet preformed, along with the Third Coast Rhythm Project. It is a festival of fun, food, music, and entertainment.
San Marco has two Menudo cook-offs annually, one for adults and one for kids. It is held on the weekend before and this year it was on the weekend of April 30 to May 2. Folks come from all over to participate in this very popular event.
The city of Denton has a celebration just as big. The parade went through the main sections of town starting at the Texas Women’s University, circling around town and ending at the civic center where the festivities began. There was live music at the bandstand, as well as dancing. Special speakers came and educated the residents about the Mexican culture, and the vendors came out to set up booths with Mexican jewelry and clothes. Local retailers also set up booths for merchandise, and of course there was plenty of food.
Cinco de Mayo is so widely celebrated in America that it seems to be more an American holiday than Mexican. However, there is a lack of understanding of what is all about; therefore, many Americans mistake it with the Mexican Independence day, which is actually on September 16. In Mexico the celebrations are not quite so festive; the government does not take the day off, but the schools do close.
When the Mexican people had trouble paying back their war debts to the European countries, the French army marched in to collect on the monies owed to them. Over 400 of the French soldiers were killed and less than 30 Mexican soldiers were lost. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the strength of Mexico on their victory over the French on that day.
By Katherine Miller-Chichester
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