Pop quiz: Which holiday is also known as el Día de la Batalla de Puebla?
Hint: It has nothing to do with any country’s Independence Day.
The answer: Cinco de Mayo.
Yes, the holiday known in much of the United States by its calendar date is also known by another, more descriptive Spanish name, which translated means “the day of the Battle of Puebla.” The battle is significant because the Mexican army defeated the more capable French army. In the 152 years since the Batalla de Puebla was fought, the holiday’s significance has evolved to its present-day celebration of Mexican culture in the United States.
The original cause for celebration behind Cinco de Mayo is now obscured by present-day reasons for celebrating. A full interpretation of Cinco de Mayo, then, incorporates both the original event and the present-day celebrations. Cinco de Mayo’s original meaning is hidden, but that meaning can be made relevant to the public in a number of ways. For example, the Cinco de Mayo con Orgullo campaign aims “to promote the true meaning of the Cinco de Mayo holiday, while reducing incidences of violence and crime.”
So, go play hide and go seek! What hidden meaning will you find behind something accepted as common knowledge?