Cinco de Mayo – How the Day Lives On

Victoria Parent

      In 2022, a beautiful story of a Cinco de Mayo celebration that embodies the true spirit of the holiday comes from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Here, the annual Cinco de Mayo festival hugely incorporated Ukraine and Ukrainians into the event, comparing their modern fight with Russia to the struggles of Puebla in 1862, truly meshing the true story behind the holiday with contemporary issues. The festival even established venues where profits would go to victims and refugees of the invasion.

     This is how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo properly in this day and age.

     Contrary to a popular belief, Cinco de Mayo does not commemorate Mexican independence. In actuality, the holiday memorializes a Mexican victory of a comparatively much smaller caliber, the 1862 Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. If this is the true origin of Cinco de Mayo, where does the truth so often get construed? What else is misrepresented or forgotten about Cinco de Mayo and its traditions?

      Like the belief Cinco de Mayo’s origin stems from its independence, another common misconception about Cinco de Mayo is that it’s primarily celebrated in Mexico, but the truth is that it’s most widely commemorated by Mexican Americans and others north of the border. Although early Cinco de Mayo celebrations were often used to advocate for democracy and bring awareness to the battles being fought by several oppressed groups, in the modern day, in many regions, Cinco de Mayo has become commercialized. Today, the holiday is often associated with partying, drinking and the widespread indulgence in Mexican stereotypes and perceived traditions, such as many young (and often white) Americans reducing Cinco de Mayo down to sombreros and taco night. That being said, perhaps when Cinco de Mayo rolls around next year, substitute Chipotle for mole poblano, a chocolate-rich dish, or another meal with its origins in Puebla, or instead of attending the fiesta packed with inaccurate and potentially harmful stereotypes, study up on the Battle of Puebla or aspects of Mexican culture, contributing, in a small part, to making our world a more universally understanding and welcoming place.



The History of Cinco de Mayo and How It’s Celebrated- 

Milwaukee’s Cinco de Mayo festival includes Ukrainians as show of support and shared spirit –