culture, opinion

Opinion: Why I am Mexican and actually like Cinco de Mayo

By Sandra Barrios

With Cinco de Mayo come “the persinados” [the faithful] who get angry about it the celebration being yet another excuse for drinking, and the hardcore “I-know-all-my-history” Mexicans who criticize others for not knowing how Cinco de Mayo became a celebration.

Yet the small, poorly armed militia that defeated the French army can be seen as an analogy of defeating the odds; as a small outnumbered group of Mexicanos who today enjoy this holiday for all the right reasons.  For us, Cinco de Mayo is a mixture of childhood nostalgia and a cultural celebration.

For many Mexican-American children who grew up in U.S. public schools this was the one day we got to proudly share our culture.  It was the day we got white kids to try our Mexican candy and actually admit they liked it. It was the day our teacher showed “bailes folkloricos” [Folkloric Dances] to our classmates and the day we were giddy to see teachers try tamales for the first time.  But most importantly, for the Mexican girl who grew up in a predominantly anglo community, it was the day she realized her culture was not something to hide but rather to rejoice.

So sure there will be wanna-be’s, OG’s and thugs in low-riders, sporting flags and drinking beer, but that can be any day in our city.  And sure there will be MEChA club members selling food without a clue about the historical part; but I say, so what?!

This may not be a holiday for the Mexicanos who are offended by the fact that Mexican Independence Day is not as big a celebration in the U.S.; and it is not a holiday meant for alcoholics (although we understand you will join us just like you will for Christmas, Fourth of July and any other major holiday).

In the end Cinco de Mayo may not be for you, but it is for some of us and we WILL rejoice 🙂

About Dennise Rocha

Journalist with Bilingual Weekly Newspaper


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