By Nailea Fabiola Ayala |Staff Writer|
The Cross Cultural Center hosted the Cinco de Mayo Celebration on Thursday, May 1, from 5 to 9 p.m in the Santos Manuel Student Union .
Patricia Chi, event coordinator, and her team started planning the celebration in April.“It is important to decide what entertainment will be here,” said Chi.
The entertainment line-up consisted of dance groups, lectures and musicians who represent Mexican roots and traditions. The celebration started with DJ Christian Bautista mixing popular Latin songs.
Dr. Gallegos, professor of Latin American Literature, spoke about the importance of this day and made it clear that Cinco de Mayo celebrates a significant battle victory against France in 1862.
“It is important to have these kinds of events because there are people who probably don’t know what Cinco de Mayo is and many might confuse it with Mexico’s Independence Day,” said student Cinthia Padilla.
Student’s who attended the event were thrilled to not only learn about their culture but also hear familiar cultural tunes.
“Events like this show the diversity of our campus. It ranges from African Americans to Mexicans so it shows we are not ethnocentric,” said student Jimmy Valenzuela.
Jay Carreon agreed with Valenzuela, “These events make me feel like the school cares about my culture, and that we are not left out.”
Event coordinators organized booths where students were able to make traditional Mexican flowers made of tissue paper often used to decorate towns.
The special cutting of this paper and flowers indicate the town is celebrating their saint and has become a popular Mexican decoration for religious festivities in the United States.
Students enjoyed the variety of booths, tacos, and beverages available.
Booths gave them the chance to taste horchata (a milky drink made of ground almonds, tiger nuts or rice), make maracas, bracelets, and play “loteria” also known as the Latin version of bingo.
At 5:45 p.m., a local youth mariachi band Corona de Angeles played Mexico’s most popular mariachi songs including the famous, “El Son de la Negra” amongst many others.
Ballet Folklorico Ilusion, a dance group from Riverside, showed students a classic Mexican dance.
Dancing from regions of Sinaloa and Jalisco, the ballet folklorico group performed the most popular songs.
The event concluded with Generales de la Sierra, a live band that played contemporary regional Mexican music to finish off the event.