Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Background: UCLA-Related Insights

Sometimes this blog posts items relevant to holidays of the day and today is Cinco de Mayo.  On May 3, 2012, UCLA Professor David Hayes-Bautista was interviewed by Warren Olney on KCRW radio’s Which Way LA? about the history of Cinco de Mayo.  He was also interviewed on the UCLA Newsroom blog on the same topic and recorded a YouTube video for that blog on the subject of Cinco de Mayo (link to that video and text at

Prof. Hayes-Bautista notes that the celebration of the holiday has much to do with the American Civil War.  On the radio broadcast, he goes into somewhat more detail than in the UCLA Newsroom write-up and video.  

Also on the broadcast, he was followed by Gustavo Arellano, author of the ¡Ask a Mexican! column of the OC Weekly.  Arellano was the UCLA commencement speaker in June 2010.  (See Arellano gives his own perspective on the broadcast and notes that the battle of May 5, 1862 which the holiday celebrates – in which Mexicans defeated the French – was followed by a later French victory and that Mexican culture and food has remnants of the subsequent period of French rule. You can hear the interview below:

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