For many members of the Mexican-American community, Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate victorious Battle of Puebla in 1862 and the Mexican culture as a whole. Unfortunately, for many Americans, this day has been demeaned and celebrated for the wrong reasons. If you want to honor an important day in Mexican history, then you need to look for ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo without appropriating the Mexican culture.
There's a very prominent Mexican community throughout the United States and, because of that, Cinco de Mayo has become such a big celebration. During this day, however, it's important to make sure that you're respecting the culture in celebration instead of just finding an excuse to drink.
Fortunately it is possible celebrate Cinco de Mayo without appropriating it. For starters, learning the history of Cinco de Mayo and the Mexican culture is a great place to start. After all, you can't truly honor or celebrate a holiday without understanding the reasons behind an important day.
So this Cinco de Mayo, put in some effort and enjoy the day for what it's really about. Here are a few culturally respectful ideas to celebrate and refrain from appropriating Cinco De Mayo this year.
1. Learn About The Holiday
If you know nothing about the holiday and are using it as an excuse to drink, stop and take the time to learn why you're celebrating. According to History, Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican militia's victory over France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Because of this, Cinco de Mayo is just an ordinary day in Mexico, though it's evolved into a large celebration of culture in Mexican-American populations primarily.
2. Lose The Racist Costumes And Clothing
It's a good thing to ask yourself if what you're wearing may be offensive to the culture you're celebrating. And if you have to ask, you should probably refrain. According to Thought Co., cultural appropriation applies is any person dressing up to represent a different culture and picking pieces of another culture for their own gain. So, in short, lose the sombrero, fake mustache, or maracas.
3. Draw The Line Between Celebration And Racism
You can appreciate and celebrate Mexico's culture without appropriating or demeaning it. Enjoy a drink, grab some Mexican food, and turn up the Mexican music. But simply refer to the second point above. The best way to support and celebrate another culture is as yourself.
4. Find Authentic Mexican Cuisine
303 Magazine suggested you ditch the corporate chain restaurants and find legitimate Mexican cuisine to enjoy. In Mexican and Mexican-American communities, food is a major piece of culture. It's about bonding, coming together, and teaching recipes.
5. Don't Speak Spanglish
Unless you legitimately know or are learning the language, don't pick Cinco de Mayo to try to add Spanish into your vocabulary. And especially don't say things like "drinko" or "eato" or decide to bust out "andale" or "hola."
6. Consider Dieciseis de Septiembre
According to the aforementioned 303 Magazine article, Dieciseis de Septiembre is Mexico's widely celebrated Independence Day. If you're celebrating Cinco de Mayo, consider that it's not a major holiday in Mexico and honor Dieciseis de Septiembre when it arrives as well.