The Misconception of Cinco de Mayo


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The Mexican flag stands tall to represent their strong win over the French.

Carley Donnell, Staff Writer

It is a common misconception for people in the United States to believe that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. When in reality the day is just a minor celebration that commemorates Mexico’s impressive win.

The roots of Cinco de Mayo come from Mexico’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The French were viewed as superior at the time, so it was a big deal for Mexico to defeat them. From that point forward, each year on May 5, it became a holiday for people to celebrate Mexico’s achievement.

The two versions of celebrations that occur in the United States and Mexico are vastly different from one another. In Mexico, the day is pretty laid back. In the United States, however, it is blown up to be much bigger.

“It [Cinco de Mayo] is celebrated much more significantly in the United States than in Mexico,” State High Spanish teacher Steven Klebacha said. “We have kind of morphed it into this big thing we celebrate called ‘Cinco de Mayo’ when the events involved didn’t even happen in the United States.”

He also included what his class plans will be like for Cinco de Mayo. “We will likely do a small acknowledgment on it, but unless you are of Mexican heritage, it’s really not your day to celebrate.”

Alyssa Limbaugh, another Spanish teacher at State High, feels similarly to Klebacha about Cinco de Mayo. “It’s not what everybody thinks it is and it’s not as big of a celebration as people think it is. Some of us Spanish teachers don’t really want to make a big deal out of this event because we don’t want to keep perpetuating the idea that it’s such a big celebration,” Limbaugh explained.

“I’m going to teach my students what the celebration really is—that it is not Mexican Independence Day. It is simply just to celebrate the win of a battle that Mexico was not likely to win.”

All things considered, it isn’t preferred for people to excessively celebrate this holiday to those of who do not come from Mexico. Although Cinco de Mayo can be perceived as a huge day to celebrate and party, Mexico just remembers it as a great, historical accomplishment.