The history of Cinco de Mayo explained via lecture

Jocelyn Torralba

It’s that time of the year where Mexican festivities come around and everyone goes out party and drink but most people don’t know the background of this holiday.

History Professor Walter Fernandez gave a presentation on the history of Cinco De Mayo and the battle between Puebla and France.

The lecture was held on Thursday, May 4 in LC 155.

Fernandez focused on discussing what the fifth of May, the battle of Puebla was, why the French wanted conquer Mexico and why it’s being celebrated in the United States.

He started the lecture by playing Music of the era of 1862.

Fernandez briefly discussed the the reason for the war between Mexico and France was because Mexico was in debt with France.

The first battle of Puebla took place on May 5, 1862 the Mexican Liberal army against the French soldiers.

The Mexican Liberals defeated all three attacks from the French.

Mexican President Benito Juarez declared Cinco de Mayo a national holiday four days after battle.

At the end of the lecture students from Eterna Juventud and MEChA clubs performed traditional Mexican dances such as Folklorico and Zapateado.

Luis Guzman, history major, liked the presentation and thinks it’s good for students to gain knowledge of Cinco de Mayo because many people believe it’s Mexico’s Independence day.

Guzman is enthused that Professor Fernandez presented this lecture because he learned more about his roots.

“For me it is very significant because, it makes me learn about my country, the country I was born in,” Guzman said.

Jasmin Hernandez, english major, thinks the presentation was very interesting and believes it’s important to know the history behind Cinco de Mayo because people misinterpret it.

“People tend to forget the real meaning of Cinco de Mayo, they usually go out drinking and party and this holiday is not what it means,” Hernandez said.

Ashley Salazar, english major, says she already knew the meaning of Cinco de Mayo but she wanted to know more details about the battle.

“I personally already knew about Cinco de Mayo but I came because I wanted to get more informed about the battle and why it happened,” Salazar said.

Professor Fernandez said, “The purpose of this presentation is to inform, educate the students and emphasize why the French participated in this intervention.”

He continued to say that Cinco de Mayo is everywhere in the media and people see it everywhere but they don’t know anything of it’s history and hopes his presentation gets more people a more profound understanding of this holiday.

He added that is important for student to get educated about this holiday because, people celebrate without not knowing what it means and many restaurants and bars make specials, decorate with Mexican flags, and drink as an excuse for celebrating.

“You heard people say it’s called Cinco de Drinko, in other words people don’t even know what it means and to tell you the truth it almost becomes a joke it’s the latino drinking day and the significance of the day gets lost,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez was impressed by the turnout of the students because it’s almost finals and students are busy and he was happy many students showed up to the presentation.