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Cinco de Mayo

Currently in production

Cinco de Mayo, a U.S. Civil War Holiday
Producer:  Dr. David Hayes-Bautista.

Watch Dr. Hayes-Bautista's series of
Cinco de Mayo YouTube videos
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his year marks the 152nd Cinco de Mayo celebration, yet many are still unaware of the significance and history of the celebration,

let alone that it was invented here in California. On May 5, 1862, the Mexican army pushed back the invading French army at the First Battle of Puebla, a victory that resonated across the state of California. The first regular Cinco de Mayo celebration took place a year later, but by the 20th century its history was lost.  

Cinco de Mayo “provides a collective identity for Latinos, whether they were born here in California or immigrated from Mexico, Central America or South America. It binds them together in an identity – it is an important to Latinos as the Alamo is to Anglo-Texans,” said Dr. Hayes-Bautista in the May 4, 2007 edition of UCLA News.

Throughout the years Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated with the prominent display of both the Mexican and U.S. flags, parades, picnics, and patriotic speeches.

Cinco de Mayo's First Seventy-Five Years in Alta California: From Spontaneous Behavior to Sedimented Memory, 1862 to 1937. The Southern California Quarterly, HSSC, 2007. Hayes-Bautista, David E.; Chamberlin, Cynthia L.

“Virtually no one is aware that the holiday’s true origins in California hark back to the early days of statehood, to the waning days of the gold rush, and to the beginning of the American Civil War.”
-David Hayes-Bautista


1. May 5th is Mexican Independence Day...

Mexican Independence Day is officially September 16th, and is traditionally celebrated by "El Grito" at 11:00pm on the night of September 15th.

2. Beverage companies concocted it in the 1980's…

A new wave of immigrants had poured into the states between 1970 and 1980 as the Chicano generation was cooling down, and throughout the 1990's more anti-Latino policy was being pushed such as Proposition 187 and the elimination of bilingual education. Much like many other holidays, many celebrate with drinking and music, which gives many companies and bars the chance to make some profit. The first celebration of Cinco de Mayo took place in 1863, and was not concocted by the beverage companies.

3. It was brought about by immigrants coming to California fleeing the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1920…

When the waves of Mexican immigrants (1890-1910) and refugees (1910-1929) had children, they gave birth to a new second-generation here in Los Angeles. A new group of an increasing number of U.S.-born-Latinos shifted the center of gravity of the already existing Cinco de Mayo activities by combining the Cinco de Mayo activities sponsored by the Mexican consul and those of their own. In 1935, the celebration consisted of the traditional formal speeches, folk dances and musical events, followed by patriotic addresses. In addition, the Mexican Athletic Association of Southern California built their Cinco de Mayo around a track meet, held in Memorial Coliseum, that pitted Latino athletes from high schools and colleges in the area against one another.



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