Q&A Tuesday: U.S. parties, Mexico marches to celebrate Cinco de Mayo | NevadaAppeal.com

Q&A Tuesday: U.S. parties, Mexico marches to celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Elvira Diaz, owner of Sierra Bakery, fries doughnuts at her shop in preparation for Mexico's day to honor workers today. Diaz said Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated as a party in Mexico, but more as a civic celebration. Chad Lundquist/ Nevada Appeal

On Saturday, many Americans will celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that originated in Mexico. While the holiday has come to represent a reason to party in the United States, it has a distinctly different meaning south of the border.

We asked Sierra Bakery, owner Elvira Diaz, who was born in Mexico City, for information on Cinco de Mayo.

What is Cinco de Mayo?

It honors the battle the Mexican people had with the French. It was a battle that we won. Cinco de Mayo is not a big celebration for Mexicans; the more important day is Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo isn’t a big, big thing for us. They celebrate Cinco de Mayo more in the U.S. than in Mexico; we celebrate it with civic services, but not as much of a party as here.

When is Mexico’s independence day?

Sept. 16, which celebrates our independence from the Spanish. They came to try and colonize us, and we won our independence on that day. That one is very important to our people.

How do Mexican citizens celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

It’s a civic thing; if you go to school, there is a march. We take it more seriously. It’s really not about having a party. We are happy that we won this battle, but we don’t have a party

Why do you think it turned into a party in the United States?

As a business owner. I know that you always need some kind of excuse to celebrate. Someone took it as a way to have some fun and decided it’s a good day to have a party. It’s a good day to celebrate cultures and bring about multicultural information, so I like it for that reason.

What other holidays are important to Mexican citizens?

Dec. 12, which is the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint. Because about 90 percent of us are Catholic, that one is one of the most important days.

March 21: Benito Juarez, (one of the first presidents) of Mexico, was born on that day. He was really an important leader for us.

Today, May 1, is our labor day. We have a big march and celebration.

Monday, April 30, was the day of the kids, when we celebrate the children.

Also Mother’s Day and May 15, which is Teachers Day, are both very important and are widely celebrated.