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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

Is there any religious significance to Cinco de Mayo?

Neela Kale Answers:

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “May fifth”) is a relatively minor Mexican holiday commemorating the Battle of Puebla of May 5, 1862, in which Mexican forces defeated an invading French army far superior in numbers and equipment. Mexico only temporarily halted the French invasion; French reinforcements soon conquered the capital and it was not until 1867 that Mexico finally freed itself from French control.

However, Cinco de Mayo has taken on a life of its own in the United States, celebrated by Mexican-Americans and many others. Some parishes with significant Mexican populations participate in civic or community activities to celebrate the holiday. Any national or cultural holiday is a good occasion to pray for one’s country or cultural group. But in itself Cinco de Mayo has no more intrinsic religious significance than Independence Day, Flag Day or any other civic holiday.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • michelle

    Why is 5 de mayo important to the religion though?

  • makayla

    nice post i was very surprised something googd to pray about for the americans and the mexicans.

  • Carmel

    Nice post! This 5deMayo was also a good time to pray for Mexican-American relations and a humanitarian resolution to border/immigration issues.

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