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The AHS Eagle

The student news site of Arlington High School

The AHS Eagle

The student news site of Arlington High School

The AHS Eagle

The Real History on Cinco de Mayo

The+Real+History+on+Cinco+de+Mayo
K Wilson

Cinco de Mayo or the fifth of May is heavily celebrated in the United States as a way to honor the culture, heritage, and traditions of the Mexican people. Sadly, it is also mistakenly thought to be a celebration of Mexican Independence Day, however, Mexican Independence Day falls on September 16. So what is Cinco de Mayo and why should we care?

The truth behind Cinco de Mayo is that it is a minor holiday when celebrated in Mexico as it celebrates the victory in the Battle of Puebla in the larger war between Mexico and France. While not the most war-defining victory, this win helped to encourage and lift the spirits of the Mexican troops who would continue to fight for more years until France withdrew from Mexico in 1867. history.com/Cinco-De-Mayo

Celebrations of this victory on Cinco de Mayo are usually found in the city of Puebla and include military parades and other activities but it is not considered a federal holiday with offices and banks remaining open for business.  “From what I know, it’s not considered a federal holiday because it’s mostly about a war victory.  While in the U.S. the holiday has turned more into a pride and celebration of Mexican culture,” Jeshua Salazar Zarate (‘27) said. 

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture. Traditional dances, foods, and music are shared in areas of the United States with large populations of Mexican-American people.  “I know of this school in Mount Vernon that celebrates and holds festivities for Cinco de Mayo and has Spanish dancing, both modern and Indigenous,” Dionisio Rivera (‘27) said. 

While it is great to honor and celebrate any culture, it is important to make sure that we understand the history behind celebrations so that future generations can have a better understanding of different cultures and continue to teach each other true history instead of furthering misunderstandings.  “We [my family] hold fiestas. But I actually prefer the ones in Mexico, they interest me a lot more than the ones held here.  I personally love the festivals, and the food there is also amazing,” Brian Stewart (‘25) said. 

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