5 Ways to Celebrate Cinco De Mayo Respectfully
Cinco De Mayo is right around the corner and the celebration is a great way to learn about another culture and have fun. Unfortunately some of the ways people choose to celebrate can actually be incredibly culturally insensitive. Here are five ways to celebrate the holiday by appreciating the traditions and not by appropriating them.
Learn the History
Many people believe that Cinco De Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. That is not true. Mexican Independence Day is September 16. The celebration is a result of the victory of the outnumbered Mexican Army defeating the French imperial invaders in the Town of Puebla, Mexico on May 5, 1862. Because this battle is relatively insignificant in the grander history of the war between Mexico and France, Puebla, Mexico is one of the only places you can find any Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Mexico. Ironically, Mexican-Americans and non-Latinos celebrate the holiday in the US more so than people from Mexico do. It is still perfectly acceptable to celebrate but if you are truly appreciating the holiday then you should understand its origins.
DO NOT DRESS UP IN COSTUMES
A lot of people think that Cinco De Mayo is a day to wear sombreros, fake mustaches, ponchos, among other things. This is completely inappropriate because it creates caricatures instead of actual representation of people. It also mocks the cultural and historical significance of the items. Embrace the culture by purchasing handmade jewelry or clothing from Mexican-owned businesses or by incorporating bright colors that invoke feelings of celebration into your outfit.
Cinco De Drinko is a common phrase associated with the holiday. The tradition of celebrating by excessively drinking in this way was started by beer companies in the 70’s and 80’s to market to a Spanish speaking demographic. It is more than acceptable to enjoy drinks during your celebration but please do so responsibly.
Indulge in Mexican Cuisine
In addition to supporting local clothing and jewelry makers, support Mexican-owned restaurants. Chipotle and Taco Bell are delicious but find a Mexican-owned restaurant that makes authentic Mexican cuisine. Waco has so many great options to choose from that you don’t have to look far. You can even opt to learning how to cook dishes by looking up recipes online. Food is a great way to bridge gaps and learn about people.
Listen to Mexican Music
You can also learn a lot about people by the music that is important to them. Music is a way people tell their stories, express themselves, and connect with each other. Brazos Nights: Cinco De Mayo is going to be a great local event to enjoy music from three popular Mexican bands/performers based in Dallas. The event will feature La Energia Nortena, La Fiera de Ojinaga, and Magia Blanka. This will also be an event where you can enjoy authentic Mexican food and spend the day eating and drinking with your family instead of in a bar partying.