Holiday/Festival – Mexico

As told by Israel Cinco de Mayo is the date that Mexico defeated the French army at the Battle of Puebla.  Contrary to many Americans belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence day.  To celebrate this holiday Israel and his family gather for a celebration full of food, music, and dancing.  Even Israel admits that his family has Americanized the tradition since only a few small areas of Mexico still recognize the holiday.  That being said the festival is still full of Mexican heritage and tradition.  The food consists of only Mexican cuisine and is always prepared by his mother and aunts on the day of the celebration.  After everyone gets to the house dinner begins and family stories are exchanged.  Israel said it is his family’s tradition to play mariachi music and perform folkdance after dinner is finished.  His favorite part of the night as a child was the piñata, which would always be filled with candy.  Israel says his family uses the holiday as an excuse to bring everyone together and feels it is important to try and stay connected to his Mexican roots.

Israel went on to talk about his mothers negative feelings towards the way Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  Even saying that society has butchered the meaning of the holiday and now it has just become a day where college kids can “drink Coronas and party”.

While I personally feel that America has stolen many aspects of Cinco de Mayo the American version is in not way related to the traditional Mexican roots.  The only two things the celebrations have in common are the name and the overall Mexican theme.  Other than that the meanings behind the holidays are in no way related.  If you ask most Americans what Cinco de Mayo is celebrating they will probably tell you Mexico’s independence day.  When I asked one of my roommates what Cinco de Mayo stands for he so eloquently put it as, “yea isn’t that Mexico’s fourth of July”.  Just proving that the holiday has really lost its meaning in the US and taken a life of its own.

It is amazing to see how a country can take a holiday and completely change its meaning.  Until I talked to Israel I personally was never even sure about what the Cinco de Mayo celebration was for.  In the end you cannot blame America for interpreting a holiday in the way they see fit.