Five Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo – without being disrespectful
It’s Cinco de Mayo today, and no it’s not just a holiday about drinking tequila and listening to a mariachi band. While those can be fun aspects to the day, the entirety of the day is not Cinco de Drinko or Drinko de Mayo.
In fact, the holiday has very specific and cultural roots that are often forgotten on the day and the surrounding celebrations. It’s important to remember these nuances should one decide to celebrate, for the sake of a better historical understanding of our neighbors and the cultures that influence our one.
Here are the ways I am personally celebrating Cinco de Mayo and how I would encourage others to as well:
- Learn The Story Of Cinco de Mayo
- Commonly misunderstood as Mexico’s independence day, Cinco de Mayo often gets labeled as “Mexican 4th of July”. News Flash: Mexico’s independence day is September 16 and harkens back to 1810.
- The fifth of May is from the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla. This marks the date that Napoleon III’s army (French) in 1862 was defeated by a militia of Zapotec and mestizo peoples. It became a symbol and story of resistance during a time when foreign bodies were trying to establish power over Mexico.
- As these things go, people in the state of Puebla celebrated the victory, but much of Mexico did not. As celebrations and events evolve, it became a celebration of Mexican culture and identity, especially with Mexican-American families in the United States.
- The broader United States’ love of Cinco de Maya came with alcoholic drink promotors marketing alcohol sales and parties on the holiday.
- If you want to learn more, try these books:
- Appreciate Mexican-American Influence On Your Community
- With so much hate in our current landscape it’s even more important to bridge gaps and be friends to all people.
- In my community in Colorado we have a large Latinx and Mexican-American population, and they make some of the best food and have some of the best parties you could ever imagine! When I travel to countries without much Mexican food, I long for these treats of homemade corn tortillas, roasted tomatillos, fresh guacamole and smooth tequila. If you have these gems in your community, seek them out, and make friends. I know everyone I have met is warm and loving and wants to make you feel like you’re at home.
- Celebrate local Mexican-American artists, designers, architects, philanthropists, community organizers, and overall great people. Read about your community history and see just how many amazing and diverse people made your world better.
- Be grateful for the food, music, groceries, and festivals that Mexican-Americans help put on. Whether it’s for Cinco de Mayo or any other time through the year, their influence and work is a treasure!
- Celebrate with Kindness and Consideration
- If you are one that likes a good party, and wants to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (because yes, it’s a GREAT time) then do so with consideration. Go to an authentic restaurant (it will be way better than Chipotle or Qdoba, I promise) and have some drinks and food with people that poor their heart and soul into their food.
- Don’t wear crappy costumes or reinforce negative stereotypes. Please for the love of god leave the mustaches and serapes at home.
- Care About People – Every. Single. Day.
- It’s easy to have a party and feel closer to Mexican culture and Mexican-American peoples then go home the next day and leave it in the past. The better part is to connect with people in your community and learn their stories, learn how to support each other, and care about our global needs.
- Donate to organizations that are aiding people with settlement in the United States. Donate you time and supplies to groups working for immigrant rights. Read up on the reasons why people are fleeing north (of course there are many places they come from, including Mexico).
- If you love traveling to Mexico, consider doing things that help people in the community you are visiting, such as donating school supplies or sewing sanitary products for distribution.
- Celebrate With Those You Love
- I am very blessed to have a mother-in-law that is part Mexican and that has a giant, wonderful, and warm family that always opens their arms to anyone. Many years they have their own Cinco de Mayo party where everyone eats food, enjoys margaritas and has a lovely time. There is an unbelievable amount of love and consideration with these people and every family get together is filled with that warmth. While the food is always amazing, and the margaritas are stellar (thank you grandpa Hank) the best part is the connection and care in the room at any event. That is my favorite part of Mexican culture, is that no matter who you are, what you look like, what you believe, someone will always give you love, a hug, a plate of food, and a giant smile. All of which is the culture I want to celebrate and integrate every single day.
Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
More on Mexico: