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¡Viva México! Mexican Mutual Society celebrates Cinco de Mayo

By Ingrid Marie Rivera, La Prensa Correspondent

The Cinco de Mayo anniversary was closed this year with the brightest, biggest moon of the year, a supermoon, and earth-grazing meteors. And the day was just as beautiful.

A bright, warm sun shone over a few hundred people May 5, 2012 as they lined up to watch the 15th annual Cinco de Mayo parade in South Lorain hosted by Lorain’s Mexican Mutual Society.

The Mexican Mutual Society celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Cinco de Mayo Battle of Puebla with Mariachi music and folkloric dance, Mexican cuisine, and its annual parade.

Attendees turned out to a celebration that brings great pride to Mexicans.

Cinco de Mayo, meaning the fifth of May, commemorates the May 5, 1862 Battle of Puebla, México, where the outnumbered and poorly armed Mexican Army and indigenous Mexican people defeated the more powerful and heavily armed interlopers from France.


More History behind the Battle of Puebla

The French had invaded the city of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).  Despite the U.S.’s Monroe Doctrine, the French invaded Mexico, with the French realizing that the United States would be preoccupied with its Civil War.

Because indigenous Mexican President Benito Juárez’s government’s default on its debts to European governments, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz in 1861 to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, ruled by Napoleon III (1808-1873), wanted to create an empire on Mexican territory.

But it took six years and political pressure from the United States before the French completely withdrew.

The Battle of Puebla may not have fully ended that war, but it was a significant win and the last time a country in the Americas was invaded by a European military force [excepting when the British Empire defeated Argentina in the former’s pursuit to maintain control over the Falkland Islands in 1982].

With the victory at the Battle of Puebla led by Texas-born Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza, México proved its army’s resilience and successfully defended its sovereignty –  which was declared over 50 years before this famous battle, when México declared its independence from Spain in 1810. [Mexicans celebrate their independence day from Spain on September 16].

The Mexican Mutual Annual Cinco de Mayo Parade

The Mexican Mutual Cinco de Mayo parade this year, which ran from Oakwood Park to Pearl Avenue to 29th Street, was their biggest parade yet. Dozens of groups (over 60 units) participated in the parade including the Lorain High School Marching Band, school, business, city and political groups.

Mex Mutual Princessa '12

Spectators cheered and waved Mexican flags. Royalty marching in the parade included former and current Mexican Mutual Society winners, Sacred Heart Chapel Mexican and Puerto Rican winners, and the Lorain International Festival courts.

Karen “Paz” Labra, 15, of Mexican heritage, Canfield’s upcoming singing talent, made an appearance again this year. Wearing a Mariachi dress, she sang several Mariachi and pop songs in English and Spanish.

The MMS also had a Cinco de Mayo Queen and her 2012 court, among them a Little Queen, Princess and Duchess.


Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Puebla, México

Cinco de Mayo in México is primarily observed in the state of Puebla with parades, street festivals, and plenty of Mariachi music. Puebla, México put on this year an elaborate, highly symbolic, musical, televised presentation depicting the history of the Battle of Puebla. Fearless acrobatic dancers climbed walls that brightly lit up behind them. Through a graceful and suspenseful dance, drummers and ballet dancers adorned with rich, colorful, indigenous clothing depicted the Mexicans’ several attempts to defeat the French and their ultimate triumph at the Battle of Puebla. The commemorative event, which, despite rain, was greatly attended in Puebla, also brought international Latino artists, both Mexican and Puerto Rican. 

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has grown into a great unofficial holiday celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, especially in areas with great Mexican-American populations.

This past Saturday also featured the mid-point of spring, or the exact moment between the March equinox and the June solstice.

As Mexicans in both the U.S. and México cheered Saturday:  ¡Viva México!


'12 Parade Marshall and retired Lorain Firefighter, Jim Palmer-Mendez

'12 Parade Marshall Mike Amador

Karen E. Labra of Canfield Ohio sings on Alma De Mexico Float in Cinco de May Parada in South Lorain

Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05/08/12 13:30:20 -0700.





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