Students consumed more than 400 tacos at a fiesta celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Southeastern’s War Memorial Student Union May 5.
The Office of Multicultural and International Student Affairs partnered with the Campus Activities Board to host Cinco de Mayo Fiesta 2011. At the annual event, the organizations handed out tacos and cards detailing the holiday’s significance to students passing through the student union.
“We don’t want people to think it’s just about the alcohol and hanging out with friends,” said Dynnishea Jones, a student worker for OMISA, about the typical festivities associated with the holiday in America.
Though celebrators often associate Cinco de Mayo with Mexican independence, the holiday actually celebrates a Mexican victory over French forces during the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The event did bring freedom to Mexico, but the nation’s independence day is celebrated on Sept. 16.
“The Mexicans didn’t have much artillery, but they won the battle in half an hour,” said Mariela Sanchez, an instructor for the department of languages and communication.
Sanchez said the holiday has become an economic one in the U.S., where families and friends in heavily populated Hispanic communities enjoy Mexican food and drinks.
At Southeastern, students listened to Latin-themed music and participated in limbo and taco-eating contests. Erralyn Joseph won the limbo contest and received a bag of prizes, while Avery Hinyard-Tate placed first in the taco-eating contest. Contestants were given 30 seconds to eat as many tacos as possible. Hinyard-Tate won a folding chair.
The CAB has hosted the event during school hours for the past few years because they know most students spend the night celebrating with their friends. Both organizations hope the event spreads awareness of the holiday’s true meaning while making a routine trip to the student union an enjoyable one.
“We’re just trying to have a good time before finals,” Jones said.