I love a random holiday to celebrate. I don’t care about the fancy stuff to do or buy, just give me a few friends and snacks! With the increase in awareness and talk of cultural appropriation and cancel culture I have thought more about the holidays we Americans celebrate; one of the most notable being Cinco de Mayo.
Here are 4 ways to still have fun but know you are celebrating and not characterizing the holiday:
Know what you are celebrating.
I can admit that I never really knew what Cinco de Mayo was or why it was celebrated. I assumed it was the Mexican independence day (which is actually celebrated September 16). Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration commemorating the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. In Mexico it is not celebrated as a national holiday, but in the State of Puebla and its neighboring State of Veracruz it is a full holiday and they have historical reenactments, memorial parades, and an art festival.
Shop and support local authentic businesses.
While food is important to all cultures, it’s a huge deal in Mexico. Many families with Mexican backgrounds know the importance of family dinners and spending time around the table. If you want to celebrate as they would in Mexico, create a fun meal and shop locally. We have so many wonderful and authentic restaurants and shops in the Wichita area that would be able to provide a fully cooked meal, and if you are fancy there are even several grocers that supply ethnic ingredients. While you’re out shopping make sure you hit the retail shops that our city has to offer as well!
Markets in Wichita:
Restaurants in Wichita:
- La Tropicana
- Casa Martinez
- The Original Mexi-Kan Kitchen
- Uno Mas
- Cholitas Mexican Restaurant
- Juarez Bakery (also a grocery)
- Connie’s Mexico Café
Art & Retail in Wichita:
Support Mexicans and Mexican-Americans outside Cinco de Mayo
In addition to buying locally, you can help by supporting them outside of the holidays. We are currently dealing with an unprecedented amount of youth migrants trying to enter the United States. Adults and families at the border are being turned away. However, unaccompanied minors are allowed in and taken into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The pandemic, along with natural disasters, poverty, and crime has ravaged Latin America and parents are sending their children, alone, to cross the border to come to America. Instead of being transferred to the custody of health officials within 72 hours, the legal limit, they are being sent to detention centers that are overcrowded and don’t have adequate food and supplies for all the children. The number of people trying to migrate to the US is on track to reach a 20-year high.
For those of us that can afford a couple of tacos and a jumbo margarita to celebrate why not match what you spend on dinner and donate to a local or national organization that will help provide necessities like food, shelter, health care, and other services for migrants released from detention. You can also donate to organizations that work in legal services to help families who are trying to gain asylum in the US.
If you don’t have the ability to make a financial contribution you can write or call your local politicians to remind them that all people deserve humane treatment and that seeking asylum is a lawful process. You can also demand that they need to end the indefinite detention of children at the border.
Don’t characterize or appropriate the culture
Have fun, drink some tequila, but don’t wear a sombrero. No need to call it Cinco de Drinko – we all know what we like to do on the holiday. You don’t want to sound drunk and ignorant.