May 042011
Authors: Vashti Batjargal

Though El Centro, CSU’s Latino cultural center, has traditionally hosted speakers, performers or dancers to celebrate the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo, no celebrations will take place this year.

El Centro passed on responsibility for organizing Cinco de Mayo events this year to the Multicultural Greek Council, according to El Centro’s Program Coordinator Zulema Sierra. The council then informed El Centro that since it felt enough emphasis was placed on other Mexican cultural events, such as Hispanic Heritage Month, it would not organize Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Since hearing of this development, El Centro hasn’t had the time to organize its own Cinco de Mayo event.

“It kind of saddens me,” Sierra said.

Sierra, who completed her bachelor’s degree at CSU in 2008, can remember all four years of events the office has hosted.

The fifth of May, or Cinco De Mayo, is not Mexican Independence Day –– that’s Sept. 16. And it’s not a date that carries much significance to many Mexican people.

Instead, it refers back to the Battle of Puebla in Mexico in 1862, when the outnumbered Mexican army, lead by the Texas-born general Ignacio Zaragoza, fought and defeated invading French forces.

“It’s a day to remember, that when we come together and work together, we can accomplish anything … against all odds,” Sierra said.

California memorialized the date shortly after the battle and it has since become a date to build awareness and celebrate Mexican culture in the U.S., not to mention a marketing strategy to push margaritas and Mexican beer on consumers.

It goes along with what America symbolizes for many people: that you can come from nothing and make it in America, according to Sierra.
“That’s why many Mexican immigrants to the U.S. can usually associate with the day more than Mexican natives,” she said.

Some students, however, use the day to indulge in some Mexican-inspired alcohol and a bit of culture.

“Usually every year, I go out for Mexican food; it’s fun,” said Kiah Vandergrift, a junior economics major.

Staff writer Vashti Batjargal can be reached at

Get to the parties:

  • Fort Collins Cinco de Mayo Committee is hosting a Festival
  • Saturday and Sunday at Civic Center Park off La Porte and Howes from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 Posted by at 5:18 pm

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