May 052009
Authors: Stephen Lin

Orange scarves twisted in the dancers’ hands while they flowed around the Plaza, their skirts twirling in the gentle spring breeze.

The dancers shifted and stomped to the upbeat tempo while onlookers applauded their graceful movements.

The music behind them trumpeted from a recording of a mariachi band while a live group looked on.

Cinco de Mayo had come to the Lory Student Center Plaza.

Jennifer Macias, president of the Multicultural Greek Council, which organized CSU’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, said on the 5th of May “people typically talk about the history of Mexico and the independence movement.”

Though the day is often misrepresented as Mexican Independence Day, which is on Sept. 16, Cinco de Mayo is really recognized as a day to celebrate Mexican culture and commemorate the Battle of Puebla.

According to History.com, on May 5, 1862, 4,000 soldiers of the Mexican army defeated a French army twice its size outside of the small town of Puebla.

Their victory only delayed the French occupation of Mexico, but the country regained its independence five years later.

The festivities on the Plaza included the dance group Quetzalcoatl, named after the Aztec god. The group performed traditional Mexican dances for the gathered crowd, celebrating the deeper history of Mexico by performing Aztec cultural dances in brightly colored native dress.

Their headdresses of long peacock feathers weaved in the air, while the dancers performed twisted steps on the warm concrete.

A local mariachi band performed while the dancers took a break.

The mariachi trumpets blared their traditional music while the strings of the violins flowed through the brassy notes.

Ilse Lira, a junior business and international studies major, said she enjoyed the Cinco de Mayo celebrations and appreciated the hard work that went into the preparation for the event.

“I like watching all of these performances,” said Lira.

Staff Writer Stephen Lin can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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