By Adriana Montes
As a member of the Hispanic community, I take pride in celebrating Cinco de Mayo and I welcome you in Florida to experience a one of a kind experience this month.
Cinco de Mayo is one of the most popular holiday that in large part honors the Mexican/Hispanic culture, food, and traditions, but it is a commemorative day for a historical event.
The problem I find in today’s society especially with other ethnicities trying to understand this day is that there’s often a confusion about the genesis story of Cinco de Mayo.
First, it is an annual event where Americans and Mexicans alike gather in remembrance of the events that took place over 150 years ago! Typically, during this day, many people like to go out and have fun, may be get a few drinks, lots of nachos and not forgetting tacos!
But, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence Day. That is celebrated in September 16.
What you may not know is that in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo isn’t really hyped as in the U.S where you will often find parades and reenactment but, there is some excitement during this day especially in Puebla.
While you may not be Mexican or of Hispanic descent, I invite you to tag along your Mexican friends and neighbors to celebrate this day. It is a day meant to highlight the cultures and traditions from the south of the border.
Sometimes I get asked, ‘how can I celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Florida?’
Well, there is no straight up answer about how to celebrate anything, yet there are so many ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. For instance, you may decide to decorate your home or listen to Latin music, or may be go to the Mexican restaurant you’ve been eying to go to but have never really gotten the chance. The possibilities are limitless.
One thing you must keep in mind however is to be respectful and mindful of other people’s culture and traditions. Treat this day as a day to learn and appreciate the Mexican rich culture. It shouldn’t be a time for revelry and dressing-up.
Try also to get the story right…
What I find with most people is that they will be quick to jump into the celebrations without really understanding the significance of this day. I would suggest that before partaking in any celebrations this year, take a few minutes to learn about why we are celebrating the 5th of May. Like so many other celebrations, changing stereotypes and ignorance is something we must all do… so take your part!
Support a Mexican Business
In Florida especially in Orlando, there are so many Mexican owned businesses with plenty Cinco de Mayo deals and during this important day, why not support your Mexican friend? Whether you decide to take your lunch or take-outs at your local Mexican restaurant or order a customized vase from your local poetry maker, supporting the Mexican business helps support the Mexican culture!
It’s not just about the amazing foods…
Well, the food is awesome and I wouldn’t pass it for anything else but, there are so many other things you can try out in Orlando during Cinco de Mayo. For instance, visit the local art gallery, or the museum or show up to support a Mexican artist at a concert or an event they are having. Supporting the local arts from Mexicans is one of the best ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
The biggest lesson I would love you to take is that the best way to celebrate any celebrations especially those linked with a race’s culture is educating yourself about it. Sometimes you may be inaccurately celebrating a day by not doing your homework and that is outright disrespect. Mexican culture is so rich and its not just about the tacos, nachos or burritos… I encourage you to learn our customs, traditions and our history. Knowing the essence of the celebrations is the best way to celebrate!
Happy Cinco de Mayo!