Culture / Student Life

Mexican Student Union Educates Students About Cinco de Mayo’s Cultural History

Mexican Student Union with the attendees of the Cinco De Mayo event.  Photo: @huntermexsu

As the spring semester comes to a close, the Mexican Student Union celebrated the concluding academic year by collaborating with the Undergraduate Student Government to present an informative lesson on the history of Cinco de Mayo.

Despite the holiday’s importance in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo isn’t celebrated throughout Mexico.

Every year a spectacle is thrown for the holiday as “Americans like to portray [it] as an excuse to celebrate or to drink a lot which is what a lot of popularized media makes it seem to be,” said June L. Jaimes Moreno, the co-president of the Mexican Student Union.

The club decided to fight against this Americanized version of the holiday and teach club members and interested students what Cinco de Mayo is truly about.

During a slide presentation, the student group explained the May 5 holiday wasn’t Mexico’s Independence Day; in fact, it is September 16.

The holiday is celebrated to highlight the bravery of Mexican soldiers as they fought against the French during a war in 1862, according to the presentation.

While the holiday’s history isn’t fully known in the U.S., Moreno assumed that more Mexicans would know its significance.

“The fact that we’re able to educate and the fact that other of our members already knew some of the information also leaves us a little bit stress[ed] that it seems to be that a lot of us don’t know a lot of our own culture,” said Moreno.

When asked about the club’s collaboration, Moreno said USG reached out to him a couple of months ago to discuss arrangements for a possible event around May.

With Cinco de Mayo occurring in early May, Moreno saw it as the right opportunity to celebrate the holiday but also to educate students about Mexico’s history.

The event was a major success as about 100 students filled out the Game Room in Thomas Hunter 205.

Even though the event officially ended at 4 p.m., many students lingered and remained well after the event was over.

Students socializing at the Cinco de Mayo event Photo: Carol Bautista
Photo by Carol Bautista

“I feel like I just made a friend, like two, three friends, and the food was pretty good,” said Maya Villalba, a Media Studies major.

Diego Garita, a history major, said he would have preferred some more activities and better music, but he appreciated the diversity of the crowd.

Moreno hoped the club did a good job in educating everyone and that they’ll be “able to take that [information] home and reflect on it.”

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