Lancing College Celebrates Cinco de Mayo!

On 8 May, our Spanish Department put on an exciting Cinco de Mayo celebration for all of our pupils studying Spanish. The event included traditional food, games, and music and was a joyful occasion for all those involved. Sixth Former, Annabel J, writes all about the event below.

Cinco de Mayo is a popular celebration of Mexico that is held annually around the world, and this year, for the first time, it was also greatly celebrated within the College! Cinco de Mayo has become a well-known global celebration of Mexico, with tacos and piñatas becoming key elements at every party, but the history behind the event is less well known. It’s a common misconception that the day celebrates Mexican independence but this is not true. 

It is actually to commemorate the Mexican victory at the battle of Puebla in 1862. French Emperor Napoleon III attempted to claim Mexico but, despite being greatly outnumbered, the Mexican army defeated them. This moment is recalled in the region of Puebla where there are still re-enactments of the victory to this day, done every year in the city centre. Huge parades, bright costumes and thousands of Mexican flags are all part of local tradition for this event. It is in the 60s when the celebrations began to spread outside of Mexico, especially gaining popularity in the United States of America, and for the last few decades, the day is now more widely celebrated in America than Mexico itself! It’s seen more broadly nowadays as a time to celebrate Mexican-American culture in general, where many people are able to share and enjoy this symbol of their Mexican heritage with annual parties happening around the world.

This year the College was able to get involved with these celebrations and experience some of the culture and customs for ourselves! The party was for Fourth Form, Fifth Form and A level students studying Spanish and was held in the Megarry room- brightly decorated with papel picado banners, flowers, sombreros and photo props. The evening started with a Mexican dinner where classic dishes of the country were on offer, like tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, guacamole and churros for dinner while a hot sauce eating competition was also happening at the tables! We played party games like the traditional Mexico bingo called La Lotería to win prizes and got to break piñatas to get the sweets inside. We also listened to party songs in Spanish and got to try the delicious, traditional Mexican ‘tres leches’ cake. 

The night was very similar to the popular Cinco de Mayo parties that are thrown across America every year, and in the same way we also hope to use the occasion to further embrace the Hispanic culture at Lancing. Since the Mexican festival of Día de los Muertos was first celebrated at the school two years ago, the Spanish department has been doing more to include these Latin American festivals into the school year. We hope that this Cinco de Mayo party can be the start of a new annual tradition and that there will be many more to come in the future so that we can continue to experience and enjoy these elements of Hispanic traditions that are celebrated within the College.