This week, we caught up with Cornerstone foreign language teacher, Xiomara Vehrs, to clear up misconceptions that surround Cinco de Mayo and find out why this day has an extra special meaning to her.
“Many people think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, and it’s not,” said Cornerstone foreign language teacher, Xiomara Vehrs.
What is Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the Mexican Army’s victory over France on May 5, 1862 in the Battle of Puebla. Contrary to popular belief in America, Cinco De Mayo does not commemorate Mexican Independence over Spain.
How is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated?
The Cinco de Mayo holiday is called “La Batalla de Puebla” in Mexico, where schools and government offices take off to celebrate the holiday. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is becoming increasingly popular as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, especially in areas with large Mexican-American populations.
Every year in Mexico City, the nation's capital, the Mexican Army parades in the city square with many troops, horses, tanks, and other military equipment to commemorate the Cinco de Mayo holiday. In 1862, the vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexican Army, led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza, fortified the town of Puebla and prepared for the oncoming French Army assault. The French used heavy artillery, but couldn’t defeat the determined Mexican Army defending their homeland.
Puebla, A Mexican Gem
Today, Puebla is the fourth largest metropolitan area in Mexico and home to more than 1.5 million people. In 2017, my husband and I visited the city of Puebla. During our visit we admired the architecture of the Cathedral, the “Fuerte” (fortress), and the smallest pyramid in the world at Cholula. Puebla has so much to offer and you’ll never run out of something to discover.
Another Reason to Celebrate - Feliz Cumpleaños!!
May 5th is also my birthday! When I was growing up in Saltillo Coahuila, Mexico, I never went to school or work on my birthday since it is a holiday. But I remember when I studied in Boston for one year, I had to go to school on May 5th. It was very strange for me, and it definitely didn't feel right.
Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo 2021
- Learn about Mexico: Take some time to learn how their history has helped to shape our own.
- Eat at a Mexican restaurant: You can even mention to the waiter that it is not Mexico Independence Day!
- Go to a Mexican supermarket and get churros: You can eat them with ice cream or hot chocolate!
- Have a Taco Fiesta at home: Cook a traditional Mexican dish: this is a wonderful opportunity to involve your children in the kitchen and prepare a simple Mexican dish.
Cornerstone families- Do you have a tradition from your own culture that others might find interesting? Email us to share your traditions, we would love to feature you in an upcoming blog.