Cinco de Mayo is coming up fast this year. For us Americans, that means we get to have a big party to celebrate. Friends and family can all gather around and the best tacos are brought out. Your mom probably spent all day in the kitchen yesterday and today preparing this feast for everyone. Your siblings and cousins are reeking chaos around the house. Everyone is alive with excitement and the music is making your tias and tios swing their hips.
Though this isn’t a big holiday like Day of the Dead, your family is not passing up on an opportunity to get together. Family is important after all. You remember the tradition of getting together every Cinco de Mayo. One time you spent it with your friends and you all went to their favorite Mexican restaurant. It’s their favorite Mexican restaurant, not yours because your all-time favorite Mexican restaurant resides in your mom’s house. Your friends and you drank margaritas and enjoyed burritos. It was great until your friend’s friend showed up with sugar skull makeup on. That’s when you realized your friends probably don’t know the difference.
As Americans, we can make any excuse to throw a party and get together. However, we often overlook the reason why we’re celebrating to begin with. We gloss over our own ignorance and assume that it doesn’t matter. That is, until we offend someone. We forget to consider others feeling and cultures, which ultimately leads to misunderstandings.
Sugar skulls are typically a signature of Day of the Dead, which is another holiday popular to Mexican culture. Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos, is all about honoring loved ones who have passed. Day of the Dead lines up with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, which are Catholic influenced, and are celebrated on the first and second of November. It’s understandable to be confused with another culture’s holidays and traditions because it’s not normal to you.
If your friends don’t understand what they are celebrating this Cinco de Mayo, maybe they’ll allow you to teach them between margaritas this year. If you don’t know what you’re celebrating this Cinco de Mayo, it’s time for you to do your research as well. Just don’t forget to respectfully enjoy the holiday itself.