La Plaza

News from Latin America and the Caribbean

« Previous Post | La Plaza Home | Next Post »

Cinco de Mayo celebrations canceled in Mexico; U.S parties on

May 6, 2009 |  9:39 am

All nonessential services were closed in Mexico City Friday

Cinco de Mayo celebrations here in Mexico were canceled Tuesday because of the outbreak of H1N1 flu.  

The annual reenactment of the Battle of Puebla, Mexico's May 5, 1862, victory over French forces, was canceled to avoid the accompanying crowds of onlookers. Instead, a somber ceremony was held in Puebla by President Felipe Calderon, other officials and a small number of soldiers. 

Associated Press reports that "in the United States, where Cinco de Mayo has become a pseudo-holiday adopted by the general population, the epidemic also spawned some concern." 

"Denver's annual Cinco de Mayo Festival, which typically draws 400,000, will be held as planned this weekend, though there will be more hand sanitation stations at the urging of city health officials. Los Angeles won't skip its weekend celebration on historic Olvera Street."

Reuters, published here in the News, reports that although Cinco de Mayo is celebrated all over the United States by Mexican immigrants, here in Mexico it's really just Puebla that puts on a big event.

And Daniel Cubias, who calls himself "Hispanic Fanatic" and blogs for the Huffington Post, asks whether white Americans understand what Cinco de Mayo represents.

"For starters, I am not Mexican (Cinco de Mayo is, strictly speaking, only relevant to Mexico). Second, May 5 is not Mexican Independence Day (that would be September 16). And lastly, one listen to my flat, Midwestern accent should let you know that any Latin American holiday has about as much significance to my life as Oktoberfest does to a sixth-generation descendant of German immigrants ... actually, maybe even less, because Oktoberfest features beer, which is most tasty." 

Read the rest of his post at the above link.

This morning, Mexico City has begun to return to its normal routine. Restaurants are opening for business, and traffic on the city's streets is building up again.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo: Mexico City parks, museums, cinemas and other businesses have been closed since last week because of the flu outbreak. Many are expected to return to normal service today. Credit: Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times

 See more pictures here on Flickr.