Another Cinco de Mayo has come and gone. Mexican-Americans across LA were once again forced to explain to those who do not know better that the celebration is not Mexican Independence Day. We were made to watch folks drink Coronas and Dos Equis and yell out “Viva Mexico” in a bad accent.
But some of us, well, we had it in us to feel a moment of pride. We remember the old stories about how Mexico stood up to and eventually defeated the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The French sent ferocious combat forces. Some Mexican fought with machetes and pitch forks. The impossible was made possible.
So, yeah. That’s worth remembering. We are warriors. We are protectors.
CALÓ NEWS hit the streets to ask the people whether they celebrate the day.
DO YOU CELEBRATE CINCO DE MAYO? WHY OR WHY NOT?
Gabriel Olea-Macias, 27, Santa Ana
Life title: Instructional Assistant Behavioral Intervention at Corona De Mar High school
Ethnic label: Mexican
I don’t celebrate for two reasons. One is, I feel a bit of a disconnection from my culture since my parents never really leaned into or taught me about our culture growing up aside from the culinary aspects like Molé. Two is, I’m pretty sure Cinco de Mayo in Mexico is a very specific holiday about a small town winning independence, not the country itself. It’s also been very Americanized into a day of just drinking, it makes it feel like a more American holiday wearing a sombrero if you know what I mean.
Esmeralda Romero, 41, Downey
Life title: Journalism Instructor at USC Annenberg
Ethnic label: Mexican
I was born in Mexico, but Cinco de Mayo was something that we read in the history books. We were aware of the holiday, but not as something to celebrate. It was more just like Constitution Day or Flag Day. It’s something creative from the marketing standpoint and I’m glad it’s a source of revenue for businesses, particularly, Mexican businesses. But it’s not something we brought from Mexico to this country.
Bryan Contero, 24, South Central
Life title: Masters Student at Cal State La
Ethnic label: Mexican-American
I never had any cultural ties to it, but I think when I came of age I started noticing that other people who weren’t the same ethnic background made a big deal about it. It’s been co-opted as the stereotypical Mexican holiday, like ‘Let’s go get a drunk’ or whatever. I think that’s why I also shy away from it and do not include myself in this quote-in-quote festivity that folks who aren’t from my ethnic background partake in.
Jose Lopez, 34, Ontario
Life title: Audio Engineer
Ethnic label: Chicano
No, I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I actually celebrated Cinco de Mayo. And I think the main reason is that my parents never celebrated themselves. And they never observed the holiday. It never had any important meaning to them. So it almost felt like it was an American observance holiday, but it didn’t really feel like it was geared towards us or it was a representation of us.
Yeymy Garcia, 24, South Central
Life Title: Escrow Assistant
Ethnic label: Latina
Not really, my parents are from Mexico but we don’t talk about Cinco de Mayo. I remember the day but I don’t know much about it. It’s like how America is with 4th of July. Most Americans don’t even know what that is and why we celebrate it.