By Clarence Plank: Freedom New Mexico
Cinco de Mayo — May 5 — is a Mexican holiday embraced by the U.S. and there are several events planned locally to celebrate the day.
Cinco de Mayo marks the Battle of Puebla between the Mexican army and occupying French forces May 5, 1862, which Mexico won, according to Daniela Garcia, office assistant in Eastern New Mexico University’s Hispanic Affairs office.
It is not, as many people believe, Mexico’s Independence Day, which is actually Sept. 16.
Hispanic students graduating from ENMU will be celebrating their commencement with a banquet 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Campus Union Building ballroom.
“It is an annual event that we have been doing for the past eight years,” said Daniela Garcia, office assistant in the Hispanic Affairs office. “We honor our graduates by giving them a sash of their county of origin. That way it is special for the Hispanic students. It gives them the honor of having ENMU President Steven Gamble sash them personally.”
Hispanic Affairs, Native American Affairs and African American Affairs are working together to sponsor the event through Multicultural Affairs.
Garcia said students get to keep their sashes and wear them during graduation with pride of accomplishment.
Isabel Gonzales is a non-traditional student, who is scheduled to graduate from ENMU.
Gonzales said caring for her three children, working and going to school has been difficult.
“Hispanic Affairs was here to help me and let me know that they were here to support me,” Gonzales said. “Then, being a part of the college success program helped me.
“They were here to push me,” she said, “and help me to keep going so it is an honor to be part of Hispanic Affairs and them to give me a Mexican sash. I’m just grateful to be graduating.”
Another event is the Cinco de Mayo Festival on Sunday at the Curry County Events Center.
The festival includes traditional Mexican bull riding and live music for the family.
“This is a brand new event we just started this year,” Events Center Manager Kevin Jolley said. “It’s not the traditional style of bull riding like American bull riding using one hand. They use both hands and they’re a few of them that might ride with one hand. It is a totally different event.”
Providing music are Los Huracanes Del Norte — the internationally famous and local band playing their first gig in Clovis.
Also slated to perform are El Gringo and Revanche Nortena.
What: Cinco de Mayo Festival
Where: Curry County Events Center
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $30 advance
$35 at the door.
$15, Children 6 to 12 years-old
Children 5 and under Free