While many believe that May 5 is Mexican Independence Day, it is actually celebrated on Sept. 16, the day in 1810 when the Mexican War of Independence began against Spanish colonial forces.
Then what is Cinco de Mayo all about? Find out more about the history of this distinctively American holiday when UCOP celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a talk by UCLA’s David Hayes-Bautista on Thursday, Sept. 6, 12 to 1 p.m. in Franklin Lobby 1 Conference Room. The event is sponsored by UCOP’s Latino Staff Association.
Hayes-Bautista is professor of medicine and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at UCLA School of Medicine. He will speak about his new book, El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition, published in May by UC Press. The book explores the traditions behind the holiday, which marks its 150th anniversary this year.
With an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and a master’s and Ph.D. in medical sociology from UCSF, Hayes-Bautista focuses his research on the dynamics of Latino health. He is also the author of La Nueva California: Latinos in the Golden State, a study of 100 years of data on Latino society published in 2004, also by UC Press.
Hispanic Heritage Month began as one week in 1968 and was expanded in 1988 to a month-long celebration from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The period encompasses the independence days of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua (Sept. 15), Mexico (Sept. 16) and Chile (Sept. 18), as well as Columbus Day or Día de la Raza (Oct. 12).