¡Olé mis amigos! Holy Guacamole! It’s once again time to celebrate Cinco De Mayo—the 5th of May! Instead of all the controversy around Mexico in the past year, this may be an excellent opportunity to educate your students and allow them to ask questions about what they hear on the news.
Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day from Spain (which is September 16th)!
This is “la verdad” (the truth): when the French invaded Mexico in 1862, Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza’s force of 4,000 soldiers defeated 8,000 French soldiers in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th. The Mexicans’ courage inspired Mexican Americans (Chicanos) to celebrate the victory even though the French occupation continued four more years.
Later in the 1960’s and 70’s, Chicanos involved in the civil rights movement associated Cinco de Mayo with their quest for respect in the U.S. They identified with the Native Mexican and Mestizo (people of mixed Native Mexican and European descent) soldiers who triumphed over European efforts of conquest.
Chicano activists made Cinco de Mayo a popular holiday in the United States. Today many celebrate Cinco de Mayo con muchos fiestas!
RAFT has muchos Cinco De Mayo ideas for you and your students to explore!
- Make sombreros or colorful paper flowers with large coffee filters from RAFT!
- Play songs after making RAFT simple maracas from bottle caps or spice caps: Cap Maracas or Spice Cap Maracas
- Make yarn weavings from the Northwest Mexican Huichol people with this RAFT idea: Ojo de Dios
- Imitate woven blanket patterns using strips of shredded file folders with this RAFT idea:
- Use pigmented sand or salt to create art designs with this RAFT idea: Sand Art
- Recreate Mexican hand-painted tin ornaments with RAFT idea sheet: Repousse Ornaments
¡ Olé y qué Maravilloso!
Written by Jeanne Lazzarini, RAFT Math Coach/Curriculum Writer