Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

The battle at Puebla in 1862 happened at a violent and chaotic time in Mexico’s history. Mexico had finally gained independence from Spain in 1821 after a difficult and bloody struggle, and a number of internal political takeovers and wars, including the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and the Mexican Civil War of 1858, had ruined the national economy.

France was eager to expand its empire at that time, and used the debt issue to move forward with goals of establishing its own leadership in Mexico.

France invaded at the gulf coast of Mexico along the state of Veracruz (see map) and began to march toward Mexico City, a distance today of less than 600 miles. Although American President Abraham Lincoln was sympathetic to Mexico’s cause, and for which he is honored in Mexico, the U.S. was involved in its own Civil War at the time and was unable to provide any direct assistance.

Marching on toward Mexico City, the French army encountered strong resistance near Puebla at the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. Lead by Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, a smaller, poorly armed militia estimated at 4,500 men were able to stop and defeat a well outfitted French army of 6,500 soldiers, which stopped the invasion of the country. The victory was a glorious moment for Mexican patriots, which at the time helped to develop a needed sense of national unity, and is the cause for the historical date’s celebration. 

Today’s Celebration

For the most part, the holiday of Cinco de Mayo is more of a regional holiday in Mexico, celebrated most vigorously in the state of Puebla. Celebrating Cinco de Mayo has become increasingly popular along the U.S.-Mexico border and in parts of the U.S. that have a high population of people with a Mexican heritage. In these areas the holiday is a celebration of Mexican culture, of food, music, beverage and customs unique to Mexico. Cinco de Mayo has become a bigger holiday north of the border than it is to the south, and being adopted into the holiday calendar of more and more people every year.

Ballet Folklorico Imagenes Mexicanas (Folkloric Ballet with a Mexican Image)

This dance troupe was formed to promote the appreciation, dedication and performance of Mexican Folk Dance. Dancing is a way of life!

This troupe was formed over 20 years ago and have had a successful career in performing for President Clinton at the Whitehouse, Lyons College in Arkansas, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Many Festivals across Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia and other higher educational institutions such as Bowling Green State University, Lorain Community College, Owens Community College, University of Toledo. The troupe is under the management and direction of Maestro James A. Serda and the they perform dances that tell stories about the regions and states of Mexico as well as telling the history of culture, philanthropy, agriculture, and habitat through songs, footwork, costumes, and diversity. Their repertoire includes dances from over 16 of the 35 states of Mexico and over 150 dances!

They love to engage with the audience to teach the importance about embracing diversity through art and dance.