Why is May 5th important to Mexicans living in the United States?
This celebration is classically associated with hats, mariachis, flowers and tacos. On May 5th, Mexicans in the United States commemorate the unexpected victory of the Mexican army against the French army in the Battle of Puebla, on May 5th, 1862, to achieve their independence.
This victory was an encouragement to the Mexican forces, but it was short-lived, as France soon after occupied Mexico for years. In any case, May 5th continued to be celebrated in Puebla and most interestingly, by some Americans of Mexican descent.
This is a day that in the United States is often confused with Mexican Independence Day because it is a historical date.
The evolution of this celebration is a sincere display of Mexican patriotism.
The Battle of Puebla Day signifies the union of Mexicans and Americans.
When did May 5th become popular in the United States?
In the 70’ s Mexican-American activists used the day to show their pride in their Mexican roots.
It is said that many Latin people avoid celebrating this day because of a generational forgetfulness about the holiday’s origins during the Civil War.
Another reason is because of moments of racial insensitivity throughout the United States. Despite the controversies, many U.S. cities and their Mexican communities celebrate this day, including Chicago, Portland, Oregon and Denver Colorado.
Celebration of culture
Although most of the parades and events on 5th May are not very focused on history or education, but more on the commercial side; we have some organizations like the Ballet Folklorico Nacional in Chicago where Victor Soria, its director, for more than 20 years has been striving to transmit the importance of Mexican culture and history to the second and third generation youth.
They see May 5th as a way to show their identity, a civic and cultural celebration, because through dance they learn a bit of history.