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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo today

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 4, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.


CINCO DE MAYO CELEBRATIONS

Biggest Cinco de Mayo street fair in the world - Los Angeles

Festival in Old Town features five stages and traditional Mexican foods - San Diego, Calif.

San Antonio celebrates with a four-day festival and jalapeno eating contest

Cinco de Mayo skydiving fiesta complete with air show, live music, food and tandem skydiving lessons - Vancouver, Canada.

The Cayman Islands - Cinco de Mayo air guitar competition.

The island of Malta near Italy celebrates by drinking Mexican cervezas.

Cinco de Mayo could be compared to VE Day (May 8, 1945), the day allied forces accepted the surrender of Adolph Hitler's Third Reich during World War II. But Cinco de Mayo cannot be compared to Independence Day in the United States.

Mexico's independence day is Sept. 16, or Diez y Seis de Septembre, "the day the 1810 revolution against the Spanish ruling class began when Father Miguel Hidalgo y Castilla rang the church bells in Dolores at midnight, calling Mexican peasants to arms against the gachupines (the ruling class, born in Spain). Each year, to mark the anniversary, the Grito! - the rousing speech of Father Hidalgo - is mirrored in public ceremonies all across the country, especially in Mexico City, and in Dolores Hidalgo where it all began." according to Mexicolesstraveled.com.

Indeed, Diez y Seis is the most important day of independence celebrated in Mexico.

But Cinco de Mayo, which happened 52 years after Mexico declared its independence from Spain, is a close second as an important holiday in Mexico. And Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the United States, as well. The day marks the battle between the French - who had designs on conquering Mexico - and the Mexicans. If the Mexicans had not defeated the French at Puebla, Mexico, the U.S. Civil War may have turned out differently, for the French were allied with the Confederates.

Closer to home here in Victoria, Texas-born Gen. Ignacio Zaragosa Seguin was the leader of the Mexican army's 4,000 troops who defeated the French, who had 8,000 of their troops and traitor Mexicans. Today, we have a memorial statue of him in Goliad, near the Presidio La Bahia, where he was born.

The 10-foot high bronze statue was commissioned by Alfredo Toxqui Fernancez de Lara, governor of Pueba, as a gift to Goliad and Texas. It was dedicated in 1980.

Two important victories: VE Day, which will be Saturday, and Cinco de Mayo - celebrated today.

We are fortunate to have such close ties to Cinco de Mayo, and we are fortunate for such victories.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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