By Michelle Seeber, Freedom Newspapers
Holiday commemorates victory by ragtag Mexican army over French forces in 1862.
In the mood for a party?
Clovis Community College invites the pubic to its second annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta on Saturday at the American Legion Post No. 25.
Food from some of Clovis’ best restaurants will be served, with music from the Mariachi Cordovas accompanying the fanfare, said Christy Mendoza, cultural arts director at the college.
In addition, the Nata-Raja Dancers will perform along with a dance band known as Zumbale.
Door prizes will be available and a piñata contest for children will be held.
Sponsored by the CCC Student Government, the event celebrates Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo festival early this year in conjunction with other events being held at CCC, Mendoza said.
“Cinco de Mayo is a (Mexican holiday) that began after the ragtag Mexican army won a battle that fought off the French in the Battle of the Puebla in 1862,” Mendoza said. “This battle slowed the progression of the French army into Mexico and showed the French the Mexicans could win. This gave the Mexicans a glimpse of victory.”
Clovis resident Andy Chavez said he celebrated the Cinco de Mayo event last year and would be there again Saturday.
“It was very educational,” he said. “There were people from all walks of life. There were prominent people there, the average citizen and people of lower income who were enjoying all the activities. It was a very diverse group.”
“The entertainment was great,” Chavez added. “The music was very good and danceable. What I enjoyed most, though, was the atmosphere. It was very brotherly. I think festivities like that are really worth attending, because it brings everybody together.”
He said he expects the event to be better this year, because the entertainment will be more diverse.
“It’s good for Clovis and everybody around, because it educates the public to cultural values,” Chavez said.
Flora Sandaval said she planned to attend the event with a friend again after attending last year.
“We…really enjoyed it,” Sandaval said. “We were born in New Mexico, but this is a different culture of people than ours here. We learned a lot. It was really inspiring.
“We had heard a lot about the colorful costumes and the way (people in Mexico) lived, but to see it was something else,” she said.
Historical accounts show the 5th of May is not Mexican Independence Day. Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain on midnight, Sept. 15, 1810. It took 11 more years before the first Spanish soldiers were told and forced to leave Mexico.
So, why should Americans as well as Mexicans savor Cinco de Mayo? Because 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated the French and traitor Mexican army of 8,000 at Puebla, 100 miles east of Mexico City on the morning of May 5, 1862.
The Mexicans won a victory that kept Napoleon III from supplying confederate rebels for another year, allowing the United States to build what historians describe as the greatest army in the world.
At American Legion Post 25
WHAT: A Cinco de Mayo Celebration
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: American Legion Post No. 25, Clovis
TICKETS: $10 adults; $5 children