Cinco de Mayo inspires Mexican-themed events throughout the United States. But do you know why? In Mexico, the holiday is mainly celebrated in the state of Puebla where it’s called “The Day of the Battle of Puebla.”
On that May 5, 1862, a vastly outnumbered Mexican army defeated invading French forces. However, it’s a bigger holiday in the United States than Mexico, because many believe France wanted to help the southern Confederacy in the American Civil War. The Mexican victory kept Napolean III from supplying the confederate rebels, allowing the northern U.S. army to build up a stronger force and win the battle of Gettysburg just 14 months later.
So get on the bandwagon and celebrate. Here are some of the ways campuses throughout the U.S. are celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
University of Oregon
From May 3 to 5 at the White Stag Block in Portland the “From Mexico to Oregon” series will celebrate the contributions of the Latino populations in Oregon by showcasing both Mexican and Mexican-American history and culture. Events include a photographic exhibit by David Maawad, a contemporary Mexican social photographer, multimedia presentations about the history and culture of Oaxaca by UO faculty and students and a Cinco de Mayo Celebration with a Mexican buffet lunch and live music.
University of Miami
On May 3 from 7 to 9pm, students can head over to the Lowe Art Museum for a Cinco de Mayo-themed happy hour, featuring mariachi music, light Mexican food and of course cocktails. Bacardi, Vita Coco and Vitamin Water Zero are providing the beverages for the event. It’s free for Lowe members, and $10 for everyone else.
University of Delaware
This campus is just beginning to jump on the Cinco de Mayo bandwagon with its inaugural Cinco de Mayo Day of Service on Saturday, May 5. It will send student teams to eight different service sites, such as the Mary Campbell Center for the Developmentally Disabled, the Newark Department of Parks and Recreation and the Newark Arts Alliance and Faithful Friends Animal Society shelter. The event starts at 11:25am, so students can do something good to mark the holiday, before joining in the more traditional parties and celebrations.
University of Arkansas, Little Rock
This is another school that chose to use this holiday to do some good. The League of United Latin American Citizens will donate a portion of every Cinco de Mayo ticket sold to a scholarship fund in honor of University of Arkansas, Little Rock, student Patricia Guardado, who was killed last year. The event is a festival called, “A Celebration of the Latino Foods, Culture and Families.” It takes place on May 6 at the Clear Channel Metroplex in Little Rock and features a variety of music from mariachi to salsa along with food and other cultural exhibits.
University of California, Riverside
Before the Saturday night baseball game against Cal State Northridge, the UC Riverside Athletics Association and UCR Alumni Association are hosting a Cinco de Mayo Pre-game Dinner. It starts at 4:30pm and includes a meet-and-greet with head coach Doug Smith. So students can grab some Mexican food, enjoy a great game and then hopefully can continue celebrating both Cinco de Mayo and a home-team victory.
Not sure what you want to do for Cinco de Mayo? Check out your local colleges’ activities calendar! You never know what fun events might be happening nearby.
How are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo?